Major city centre improvements to begin in January

22 December 2021

Norwich city centre will see major improvements in 2022 as work to transform St Stephens Street gets underway in January.

The changes seek to improve facilities for pedestrians and public transport users and reduce delays for passengers by making it quicker and easier for buses to set down and pull away from new saw-tooth style bays.

More space will be created both for shoppers and those waiting to board and the whole look and feel of the area will be enhanced with new bus stands, seating, landscaping and passenger information.

Pedestrian links between Norwich Bus Station and the city centre along Queens Road will also be improved following the pavement widening already completed on Surrey Street this Autumn.

Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport said: “As a busy area for retail, key transport hub and gateway to the city centre, improvements to St Stephens Street are long overdue. Bus waiting areas can easily become crowded, which restricts pedestrian movements and increasing levels of living accommodation in this area of the city means this problem will only get worse in the longer term. Bus delays caused by the current street layout on St Stephens Street impacts passengers, bus operators and contributes to city centre pollution levels.

The consultation demonstrated there was wide support for improving this part of the city but people were concerned generally about the volume of bus traffic on St Stephens and the amount of space available to pedestrians in the proposed design, particularly in light of covid.

Officers listened to public feedback and developed the design to also increase capacity within the bus station itself, reducing pressure on St Stephens and maximising pedestrian space, whilst still delivering all core benefits set out in the original proposal.

Every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum and complete the project as quickly as possible. We thank local businesses and the public for their patience while works are carried out”.

The project forms part of the £32m Transforming Cities Fund programme being delivered by Norfolk County Council and the Transport for Norwich partnership across the city, which aims to improve access to jobs, training and retail by supporting improvements to sustainable modes of transport, while also responding to issues around air quality.

Works start on Saturday 8 January and are expected to last until the Autumn, with further details on final phases at Red Lion Street and William Booth Street to be provided as things progress.

Pedestrian access to all shops will remain in place throughout and alternative bus stops will be provided on Red Lion Street, Rampant Horse Street, Castle Meadow and Norwich Bus Station. Alternative routes for those cycling will also be signed.

Passengers are advised to check with bus operators for any alterations to timings.

Further information on all road closures, diversions and alternative arrangements for buses, cycles and taxis are available with more information on the St Stephens and Surrey Street improvements.

“Chris Speed, Head of operations at First Eastern Counties said; “ We along with other bus operators, are working in partnership with Norfolk County Council to deliver significant improvements for bus passengers through a variety of projects funded through the Transforming Cities programme. We are already seeing real benefits for passengers in terms of journey time savings in the changes delivered so far and the improvements to St Stephens Street will further build on this, allowing drivers to more easily access stops, creating quicker and smoother transitions that will reduce delays and create a nicer environment for waiting passengers. Importantly, the changes will also make it far easier for passengers with reduced mobility to access public transport at this key location.

“Operators have been working very closely with Norfolk County Council to minimise the effect on passengers whilst the scheme is delivered, and to help reduce the overall construction time, we have all agreed to suspend the stops on St Stephens Street while works are carried out but all other stops in the city centre will be available throughout.”

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