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Councils respond to local feedback on temporary city centre highway changes

17 July 2020

Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council are to make changes to modify temporary emergency measures on two city centre streets, brought in to enable social distancing.

The modifications to measures on St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street are being made in response to feedback from local residents and businesses, and with the aim of balancing the needs of all who use the area.

The changes are set to be made from early next week and comprise:

  • Lifting of loading time restrictions in St Benedicts Street
  • Installing additional signage in both areas, particularly to give people more advanced warning of the measures in order to increase understanding of and compliance with the traffic restrictions
  • Removal of some of the temporary barriers on St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street to provide additional areas for loading/unloading

Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure said: “Whilst the measures are fulfilling their original aim of enabling pedestrians to socially distance, either by walking in the road or in the barriered off areas, they are also intended to support the recovery of all local business.

“Given the speed of implementation required, we said from the outset that these emergency temporary measures would be kept under constant review and adjusted as needed, as demonstrated in other parts of the county.

“Following our review of the situation on the ground and listening to concerns, we have agreed with the city council to implement a number of adjustments to balance the need for social distancing with those of the local community and we will take further measures if required.”

Cllr Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth said: “Thanks must go to residents and businesses for coming forward with ideas of how the scheme could be changed. We want this intervention to work and it’s important to listen and make adjustments.  We want this scheme to both promote social distancing and help local businesses.”

In late June a public consultation was held on proposals for emergency COVID-19 Active Travel Fund measures in St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street. An overwhelming majority of responses from the wider public supported the schemes and they were swiftly implemented.

The City Council will continue to liaise with businesses who are interested in having outdoor tables and chairs licensed.

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