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New park and ride call made as King's Lynn councillor suggests better transport options could boost health

A Lynn councillor has urged politicians to work together to develop a park and ride site, as part of measures to promote improved public health.

The plea by Labour’s Francis Bone, which is set to be debated later this week, also seeks a commitment to maintaining current restrictions on a key public transport route.

And it comes after borough councillors were urged to be radical in finding ways to reduce traffic levels.

Hardings Way King's Lynn, Protesters begin to gather at the Southern End Near to Wisbech Road). (17225050)
Hardings Way King's Lynn, Protesters begin to gather at the Southern End Near to Wisbech Road). (17225050)

The town’s current transport strategy , published earlier this year, contains an intention to draw up a specific plan for car parking, including examining the potential to develop a park and ride site.

But, while a study has been commissioned , a motion tabled by Mr Bone ahead of West Norfolk Council's meeting this Thursday argues the issues need to be taken much further.

The motion urges members to support the government’s aim to promote improved health and wellbeing through the use of active travel options such as walking and cycling.

It adds: “This Council further wishes to see greater use of public transport along routes such as Hardings Way to help reduce congestion and lower pollution on roads where people live such as London Road.

“Therefore, this Council calls on all involved to work with Norfolk County Council, Highways England and local Members of Parliament towards the introduction of a Park and Ride system to help improve the health and well being of local people.

“As a first step this Council will forthwith resist all attempts to introduce general traffic including HGVs on to public transport routes such as Hardings Way.”

That part of the motion would, if passed, contradict a council vote in July in favour of plans to enable additional traffic to use part of the route.

The motion follows a presentation to the borough council’s regeneration and development panel last Tuesday by Ben Colson, the former boss of the old Norfolk Green bus company.

He said the transport strategy predicted one in six vehicles will need to be taken off Lynn’s roads within the next six years in order to keep town centre traffic at current levels and work to improve flows around individual junctions was nowhere near enough to solve the problem.

He said: “It leaves you with two options. You either knock down town centre buildings to accommodate the traffic or you make decisive policy steps to reduce traffic coming into that central area.”

Among the potential solutions put forward by Mr Colson was a levy on businesses for the use of parking spaces, which he argued could generate around £140,000 a year, based on the current daily charge for a season ticket.

But he stressed his ideas were not intended to target people commuting from rural areas, because the strategy showed car use is rising most quickly within the PE30 postcode area which covers Lynn and the Woottons.

His presentation said: “Cut car use wholly within PE30 and you can make a real difference to the economy, air quality, public health and wellbeing.”

He also argued that the government’s announcement earlier this year of a £5 billion investment in buses offered an opportunity for areas like West Norfolk to improve links.

But committee member Vivienne Spikings suggested it was too early, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, to consider the way forward.

She reminded members that a park and ride site had long been mooted and plans had been drawn up in the past.

She said: “It’s not saying don’t consider it. But we need more facts, more figures and a better outcome to know is it affordable, is it deliverable and will it be supportable.”

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