Don’t ignore us, plead Norwich rat run fear families

Families worried that rat-running in their streets will increase because of proposals for a rapid bus transit scheme on one of Norwich's main roads have called for assurances their views will not be ignored when decisions are made.

As reported in the Evening News, Dereham Road has been selected by the city and county councils for phase one of a scheme to provide higher quality, faster and more reliable bus services.

Most of the plan was approved in March, but families were unhappy about proposals for the Old Palace Road and Heigham Road junction.

The original proposal had included a ban on right turns into Old Palace Road and Heigham Road from Dereham Road, and some people feared this would send traffic down side streets such as Gladstone Street, Nelson Street and Northumberland Street.

Three petitions, signed by 180 people, were submitted and that part of the project was put on hold while alternatives were drawn up.

At a meeting of Norwich Highways Agency Committee last month, four options were outlined, but officers said only options two or three were realistic. Option two was the original scheme, while option three was a compromise, allowing traffic to turn into Old Palace Road and Heigham Road, with a new pedestrian crossing.

The committee supported going ahead with further consultation on options two and three, and agreed the best way forward would involve a drop-in session for people to put forward their views, a workshop with councillors and some members of the public, consultation and finally bringing the issue back to the committee.

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But campaigner Vickie Myerscough, speaking on behalf of people in the area, said she feared the council was determined to stick with the original plan, regardless of public opinion.

She said: 'Most residents in the area surrounding the junction are against the right turn ban, since it will mean that the streets become more of a rat run than they already are.

'According to the council, a consultation meeting will take place at a undefined place, date and time. The residents are worried the council will 'forget' to announce the details of the consultation meeting so no members of the public will be able to attend.'

City councillor Bert Bremner, a member of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee, assured families that consultation would happen and that councillors could invite members of the public to workshops to discuss the issues.

He added he was personally opposed to the right turn bans, but that the make-up of the committee meant there were two voting city councillors and two voting county councillors.