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Diversion spells misery for residents

PUBLISHED: 17:06 13 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 July 2010

Rat-runners, boy racers and now queues of diverted traffic are making life a misery in two North Walsham streets, claim householders.

Now, the town's “nightmare” traffic problems are to be re-examined after desperate pleas from householders, who claim bungled decisions have left them at the end of their tether.

Rat-runners, boy racers and now queues of diverted traffic are making life a misery in two North Walsham streets, claim householders.

Now, the town's “nightmare” traffic problems are to be re-examined after desperate pleas from householders, who claim bungled decisions have left them at the end of their tether.

Residents say Lime Tree Road and Kimberley Road are being used as the dumping ground for North Walsham's traffic headaches and the situation has become intolerable this summer because of major town centre disruption caused by roadworks.

The narrow residential roads have been used as a rat-run by shoppers visiting Sainsbury's, plus boy racers, since Church Street was made one way in 2004.

But the present six-week closure of Grammar School Road, scheduled to end on August 31, has increased traffic at least fivefold, says Lime Tree Road resident Angela Minns.

Drivers with local knowledge were using the residential roads to avoid the official four-and-a-half mile diversion to Bengate and back along the A149.

Residents say highways chiefs should have anticipated and avoided the impact of the closure and they are also appalled at a “lack of joined-up thinking” which has led to a clash with work by Transco, involving temporary traffic lights on Marshgate, sending even more vehicles their way.

They want long-term action to solve their problem and fear they will be forgotten again once Grammar School Road is reopened.

“Traffic is almost continuous, starting at approximately 5.30am and continuing until well after midnight,” said Mrs Minns.

“We are desperate. If we wanted to live in the middle of a motorway we would have bought a house on the M11. The noise and fumes are unbearable - we have to shut our windows and we can't even use our back gardens.”

She has been brushed by vehicle wing mirrors while trying to walk on the pavement near her home and fears children and other pedestrians are in grave danger.

Mrs Minns has written to North Walsham Town Council calling for the Hall Lane right-turn on to Church Street to be re-opened. She believes the junction could be widened using some of the large pavement area outside the Music Hut.

Many motorists ignored the 20mph limit on Lime Tree as they swung in from Hall Lane and raced to reach the end before encountering on-coming vehicles, or drove along the pavement to pass each other, according to residents Cherie Smith, Paul Jackson and Brian Chadwick.

Kimberley Road neighbours Sally Balding and Jonathan Locke are among many residents who have had vehicles damaged or written-off outside their homes.

A residents' campaign group was disbanded last year. Mr Locke said: “We were just banging our heads against the wall because the council were not listening.”

Town mayor Brian Wexler and county councillor Paul Morse have both warned that any solution would cause problems in another part of town.


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