Calls for traffic lights to become manned in King’s Lynn

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Calls have been made for traffic lights in Lynn to be manned within the town after a council meeting was told they are only looked after for a couple of hours daily.

The Regeneration and Development Panel were told by Highways officials that the lights are currently manned centrally in Norwich on Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 9.30am.

Ian Parkes, of Highways at Norfolk County Council, told the meeting that the traffic lights in the town use the latest traffic control technology called Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) .

He said: “This automatically deals with changes and incidents on the network within defined limits. There is a limit to how much they adjust themselves without intervention.

“For example if there is an incident on the Highways network, the system can’t cope with that. It needs to be physically taken control of as that would be beyond those limits.”

Mr Parkes told the panel that the lights are manned for a two-hour period on weekday mornings.

Members of West Norfolk Council challenged this situation and asked if it could be relocated to make it a more local service.

Panel member Avril Wright said: “I am quite surprised to hear we don’t have this cover on Saturdays. Traffic is coming in in all directions at the weekends.

“There are problems with the Heacham lights and Hardwick lights and it’s going to get 10 times worse with the new developments planned.”

Council leader Brian Long said: “What would be the cost for it to be put within the borough council’s operation?”

Mr Long said there was potential for the lights to be managed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as it could be implemented alongside the council’s CCTV operations which were in place already.

“Whether it’s software, a licence or a piece of kit we would need to purchase, it would be very worth considering so we can control the lights in Lynn,” he added.

Other traffic-related issues of concern to panel members included the slip road from Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital roundabout onto the A149.

Mrs Wright said: “Hand on heart are you happy with that slip road that comes out of the hospital? I can’t see the traffic from the right-hand side.

“It’s really dangerous – everyone just sort of ends up going straight over and thinking they’ll just take a chance.

“It isn’t fit for purpose. The elderly population are using that slip road regularly.”

However Mr Long said he had been told that traffic worries near the hospital had reduced in recent times.

He said: “I had a meeting recently with the chairman of the hospital trust and he actually commented to me that things had improved roundabout.

“I have noticed it definitely moves and moves better.”