Anger over Exchange Street closure among Norwich taxi drivers

3:50 p.m. September 29, 2022

Taxi drivers are furious over the closure of a city center route, which they say has made traffic congestion worse for them.

Traffic was banned on Exchange Street as part of the County Council’s decision Connect Norwich Lanes Project.

The changes allowed for the introduction of additional outdoor seating on a number of routes, including Exchange Street.

But Hackney Carriage drivers are asking the council to reopen the route after long traffic jams caused delays of up to an hour on Saturday in the city center loop.

Black taxi driver Craig Dimbleby said: “What the council is trying to achieve is to make our lives impossible.

Craig Dimbleby who is a taxi driver in Norwich
– Credit: Alice Pritchard

“It was absolutely awful. It took me 45 minutes to get back from City Hall to the station. Coming out of the roundabout at the top of Grapes Hill was awful.

‘There was no afterthought in closing Exchange Street and many drivers made remarks against the plans.’

County Council said a consultation was carried out in the summer of 2021 for Connecting The Norwich Lanes.

In total, 58% of respondents liked the proposals, 12% were indifferent and 36% did not like them.

Queues piled up on Exchange Street on Tuesday evening, the first night of roadworks on Grapes Hill.

Exchange Street was closed to traffic
– Credit: Grace Piercy

And businesses can still access Exchange Street for loading before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

Ryan Self, who worked in the taxi industry in the city for 20 years, said: “Everybody in the ranks is worried it’s going to kill the trade.

“It’s a nightmare and it feels like taxi drivers are being targeted.”

Councilor Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council, said: “Changes to Exchange Street which remove general traffic and create a pedestrian and cycle zone are in place from temporarily for more than two years.

Martin Wilby, Member of Norfolk County Council for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport.  Photo: Dan

Martin Wilby, Member of Norfolk County Council for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport. Photo: Danielle Boden
– Credit: Danielle Boden

“The ways in Norwich and surrounding areas see significant numbers of people walking and cycling through the city every day and these changes will enhance that experience even further, while supporting the local economy and improving air quality.

“When we asked people about the proposals last year as part of our Connecting the Lanes consultation, the majority of people supported both the overall project and the proposals on Exchange Street.”

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