The owners of a Lynn shopping complex have been urged to act quickly in order to reduce traffic congestion – or risk a “miserable” Christmas rush for consumers.
West Norfolk Council officials have granted planning permission for a wider main exit from the Hardwick Retail Park, as well as two new additional exit points.
But, with work still to begin on the project, drivers and politicians are urging the park’s owners, UBS, to move quickly in order to alleviate the jams before the festive shopping period begins in earnest.
County councillor Alexandra Kemp said: “They need to get on with it. There is no excuse for them not to.”
For many months, there have been divisions between UBS and Tesco, which owns the access road that serves both the retail park and its store, on how to best address repeated tailbacks in the area.
One motorist, John Bolderstone, contacted the Lynn News on Facebook after he was caught in jams around the site last weekend.
He said: “This frustrating event is going to get even worse as we approach Christmas, and I pity anyone who gets stuck there.
“Do you think we could get this post seen by the right people to actually get something done?
“Let’s hope so, or it will be a miserable Christmas shopping experience for many people in King’s Lynn this year.”
The latest proposals, which were approved by West Norfolk Council last month, will allow for a second turning lane to be built at the main exit from the retail park, opposite the Tesco petrol station.
It is intended that will give drivers a clearer option of turning left, towards the Campbells Meadow exit, or right towards the traffic lights at the junction with Hardwick Road and Scania Way. The Campbells Meadow exit was installed as part of the development of the larger Tesco store there, which opened two years ago.
An existing access point next to Pizza Hut is also set to be made two-way, with exiting drivers only permitted to turn left, while a new exit will be created to the south of the unit currently occupied by Jollyes.
A new link will be created to enable motorists to drive around the retail park car park without having to leave it, as they do at the moment. Three additional pedestrian walkways will also be installed.
In a letter submitted to the council, Savills, the planning agents for the park owners, said the plans, which also include new road markings and the narrowing of some parking spaces, were designed to reduce queuing and improve road and pedestrian safety.
It continued: “ The existing road markings are poor and the internal road layout immediately to the north of the Pizza Hut unit is unmarked.
“The lack of clear road markings and instructions creates uncertainty and impacts upon drivers’ decision making.”
Although she has previously called for a mini-roundabout to be installed at the main exit to the retail park, Miss Kemp said she supported the new plans in order to get something done.
She added: “We need to find out when they’re going to deliver it.”
However, UBS declined to comment when approached by the Lynn News today.