Grapes Hill roundabout traffic lights to go in £330,000 revamp

The Grapes Hill roundabout in Norwich. Roadworks will begin there later this month.

A revamp for Grapes Hill roundabout has been given the go-ahead. - Credit: Archant © 2005

A £330,000 revamp of one of Norwich's busiest roundabouts has been given the go-ahead - but three councillors refused to back it due to their concerns.

The revamp of Grapes Hill roundabout, would see some of its traffic lights removed and changes made to cycle routes and crossings.

Norfolk County Council officers said taking out two sets of the roundabout's traffic lights could take up to four minutes off trip times for motorists in the morning rush hour and reduce journey times for buses.

Almost 61pc of people who responded to the public consultation backed the removal of the traffic lights.

The lights at Cleveland Road and Chapel Field North would be retained, while there would be new toucan crossings on Convent Road.

New pedestrian crossings and extended cycle paths are also proposed.

However, the Norwich Cycling Campaign, said the changes - which include shared use cycle/pedestrian paths the group does not support - could make it more dangerous.

Members of the Transforming Cities joint committee, made up of county, city and district councillors, agreed the scheme should go ahead when they met on Thursday, June 10.

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Labour city councillor Mike Stonard said the changes were "a compromise" at a "really difficult junction".

He said the changes there would help to remove traffic from other city centre streets.

But three councillors - Labour's Emma Corlett and Ian Stutely and Liberal Democrat Brian Watkins abstained.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Picture: Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Brian Watkins. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Mr Watkins said: "If we are not careful it could become a no-go area for cyclists and that is unfair."

First Buses has backed the scheme, saying the current junction caused "significant fluctuations in journey times".

The company said the changes would mean a "constant and reliable service", encouraging more people to use buses.

The scheme would be paid for using a slice of the £32m cash awarded to Norwich via the government's Transforming Cities Fund.

Officers at the Transforming Cities joint committee meeting did, however, warn that the final cost of the scheme could exceed £330,000.

But they said they were confident it would still offer value for money and that the cash would be available from the money the city had been awarded.