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Value of King's Lynn bus lane cash questioned

The use of a restricted Lynn road should be reviewed again to ensure the public finally gets value for the money spent on it, a borough councillor has claimed.

A public consultation is underway on proposals to re-locate a set of the retractable bollards on Hardings Way which prevent most vehicles from using it.

Although the move is meant to enable additional development in the area, campaigners fear it will eventually lead to the entire route being opened up to all traffic.

Hardings Way Kings Lynn (2216883)
Hardings Way Kings Lynn (2216883)

But, during Tuesday's regeneration and development panel session on transport issues, Chris Crofts called for the entire future of the route to be up for discussion once more.

More than £1 million was spent on the road, which has only been open to buses with the necessary recognition equipment to lower the bollards, cyclists and pedestrians since it opened seven years ago.

And, although it is a popular route for walkers and cyclists as well as families with children who attend nearby schools, Mr Crofts said he could not see where the public had been given value for the money that was spent on it.

He asked: "Where has the public benefited? Why isn't it looked it with a new set of eyes to ease the pressure in King's Lynn?

"I understand the concerns of the people who live there and if I lived there I'd join them. But it's a question of balance."

Richard Blunt, the council's cabinet member for planning, whose portfolio has been extended to include the current transport study, said: "I don't think we're going to go backwards and look at whether that was good value for money.

"What we will do is look at what we might do to change it. It is an open book at the moment."

The current consultation, relating to a draft traffic order to move the bus gate at the southern end of the route 15 metres north and open a 125 metre stretch to general traffic. is on until June 12.

Last week, dozens of letters against the plan were delivered to County Hall in Norwich. The move followed a vigil held by campaigners who want to keep the route as it is at the Friends Meeting Place in Bridge Street earlier this month, where many of the letters were written.

They fear the prospect of substantial new housing development will eventually lead to it being opened to all traffic.

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