Carrow Works – what happened to the Masterplan?

Hot on the heels of the planning application for the Deal Ground site an application has now been submitted for the adjacent Carrow Works. Peter Silburn investigates

We now have a good idea of what is being proposed for cycling for the entire area.

From the Deal Ground application we could see that the direct route across the site outlined in the East Norwich Masterplan was highly compromised. What’s being proposed for the Carrow Works site only compounds the problem.

This article should be read in conjunction with the earlier one on the Deal Ground development which covers a lot of the same ground (no pun intended!) and gives an overview of what is supposed to be built as against what the developers are proposing to build.

Essentially, according to the Masterplan, the east-west cycle route should be a direct route “aligned with the underpass”.

The Movement Strategy supposedly places walking and cycling at the the top of the “hierarchy of movement”, with private cars at the bottom. By giving true priority to active means of travel from the time of first occupancy the development would avoid becoming yet another car-dependent development, placing increasing traffic on Martineau Lane and Bracondale. The new cycle routes are also important for improving the Red and Purple Pedalways and the re-routing of Sustrans National Cycle Route 1.

“The highest priority will be given to supporting active travel – walking, wheeling and cycling.”

The east-west cycle route through the development area – East Norwich Masterplan

For this to happen three key pieces of infrastructure are needed. These are:

  • A bridge over the River Wensum near the existing Carrow bridge to provide safe, direct access to the city centre
  • Improving the underpass under the railway to allow for pedestrian and cycle access
  • A bridge over the River Yare to provide safe, direct access to Whitlingham Country Park

If these pieces of infrastructure are not built then the cycle route envisaged in the Masterplan falls apart.

This is best illustrated by comparing the route through the site with and without the bridges. We’ll assume the underpass is accessible since without that there’s no route through the site at all.

With the two bridges the route follows a direct course:

The cycle route with the required bridges

Without the two bridges the route is long and circuitous:

The cycle route without the bridges

The all-important walking and cycling bridge over the River Wensum does not appear to be part of the planning application, which raises the obvious question: why not? The Masterplan describes it as “essential infrastructure”.

It is also unclear whether the underpass is included in the planning application. I was earlier told that these key pieces of infrastructure would need to be funded separately.

The proposed cycle route (dotted green line)

Without the bridge where will the cycle route go at its western end? Unless a bridge is built over the River Wensum the cycle route will have to exit along Paper Mill Yard onto King Street. This would not provide a safe, attractive or direct route.

There is some mention of possible mitigating measures on King Street as well as changes to the County Hall roundabout to improve access for cycling. We look forward to seeing more details of these proposals.

Our concerns with the Carrow Works development

The re-development of the old industrial site, in conjunction with the neighbouring Deal Ground site, represents a huge opportunity to provide a high quality active travel route not only for the new residents but for the whole city, opening up a connection to Whitlingham Country Park and beyond.

This is recognised by the East Norwich Masterplan. We are therefore disappointed that this opportunity is not being fully grasped and the clear requirements of the Masterplan are being diluted in practice.

Our concerns can be summarised as follows:

  • The east-west cycle route is not direct. What is being proposed takes a contorted route around three sides of a rectangle. There may be some merit in providing a route along the riverside but the primary direct route in line with the underpass (the desire line) should be provided as well, as required by the East Norwich Masterplan.
  • Cycle infrastructure should be built to comply with the current government design standards (LTN 1/20) which emphasise the need for cycle infrastructure to be accessible to everyone from 8 to 80, to be designed for significant numbers of cyclists (and for non-standard cycles), that it must join together to make a connected network and that it must feel logical and direct.
  • The bridge across the River Wensum which will allow for a safe, direct cycle route to the city centre should be included in the planning application.
  • The improvements to the underpass to allow for a walking and cycling route under the railway should be included in the planning application.

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One thought on “Carrow Works – what happened to the Masterplan?

  1. Can I make a point as a resident who lives right next to (and I mean a metre from) the Bracondale bridge as it leads from the ring road towards Trowse. The bridge is narrow at this point with barely enough space for two lanes of traffic plus cyclists and pedestrians to pass. What I am about to say supports your argument about a direct route through the underpass.
    Even with the existing amount of cycling traffic, there is a danger to cyclists. Groups of cyclists frequently go along the ‘cycle superhighway’ out of the city as well as the more tame neighbourly cyclists travelling in and out of the city (such as myself). There are also an increasing number of pedestrians walking to and from Trowse and Whitlingham, often youngsters who also cycle to school from Trowse Millgate (on both sides of the bridge). My concern is that increasing the traffic, either cycle or car over the bridge will create a dangerous situation. I have photographs which I can upload here but you can see on the http://www.trowsemillgate.org.uk website – which show the issue even as things stand

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