Civic Society head blasts plan for bus lane

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A leading heritage campaigner has made a last-ditch plea for councillors not to ease restrictions on the use of a Lynn road.

Officials have proposed that Hardings Way, which is currently only used by buses, cyclists and pedestrians, is opened to all traffic as part of the regeneration of the town’s riverfront.

But, ahead of a council debate on the issue, Lynn Civic Society chairman Alison Gifford added her voice to calls for the idea to be dropped.

In the group’s latest newsletter, she wrote: “A community that has detrimental change dictated to it by the motor car has surely lost its cultural and social way.

“We should be reducing traffic and encouraging walking, cycling and good, fast, pollution-free public transport.”

She added: “Let’s put Lynn on the map as a town actively finding ways to reduce car use.

“It’s not easy to make great change but in the case of our enslavement to cars it is worth the effort and probably short-term unpopularity.”

A £350,000 package for further work to establish the feasibility of the project was backed by West Norfolk Council’s cabinet last month.

The issue was then referred to the full council and scheduled to be debated at last night’s meeting, after the Lynn News went to press.

A statement is expected to be issued today, following the meeting.

But council chiefs have previously stressed no decision has been made on the future of the road and any change to its use would require a full transport assessment in any subsequent planning application.

However, earlier reports claimed that 55 per cent of people who responded to a public consultation on the riverfront plans preferred the option that included the opening of the road to all traffic.

However, Miss Gifford said the Civic Society could not back it, even though members considered it to be the most attractive of the three, because of the bus lane issue and suggested participants could have been “misled” into choosing that option in the belief they had to choose one in order for their views to be considered.

She claimed there is a large majority against the idea and said she was “reassured” by a Norfolk County Council paper which called for a reduced policy emphasis on car usage.

County officials have also warned that a “robust” case would have to be made for the road to be fully opened.

But borough leaders maintain the move could help to address pollution problems in other parts of the town.