Longwater junction

The Longwater junction is a barrier to walking and cycling to the west of the city

Welcome to our micro site about the horrors of the Longwater junction.

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News coverage on our blog

As the story unfolds we’ve been covering updates in our blog

News updates

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Introduction to a truly shocking place

The Longwater junction is located on the western edge of the city where the A47 southern bypass crosses Dereham Road. It’s also the site of a large out-of-town shopping centre.

There’s a decent cycle track from the city (which is bring significantly improved) as well as mostly good cycle routes from Queen’s Hills to the north and Hampden View to the south.

Dereham Road is the main road west out of the city and is the obvious choice for cyclists commuting to and from the direction of East Dereham.

Crossing the Longwater junction during the Sundown Festival at the Norfolk Showground in 2023

On the west side of the junction are some major destinations; Easton College with its 5000 students, the Norfolk Showground which hosts events attended by thousands, along with the planned Food Hub which is expected to employ 3000 people. There’s also the Park and Ride as well the rapidly growing village of Easton, including the large new housing estate currently being built known as “Festival Park”.

The problem

There are two barriers to getting across the junction: William Frost Way (the access road to the out-of-town shops and the Queen’s Hills estate) and the A47 junction itself. Because there is no proper footpath, much less a cycle track, there is no formal way to cross this junction for anyone not in a motor vehicle.

What’s being proposed?

The proposal from Norfolk County Council is to provide a narrow footpath across the A47 bridge (just 50cm wider than the present footpath and with no protection from heavy traffic). This will not be suitable for riding a bike on.

What is planned is totally unfit for purpose and would be correctly perceived as dangerous by anyone who had to use it. The proposed scheme would certainly do nothing to meet the aspirations of reducing car use, encouraging active travel or providing a safe route for school children, and it falls well short of the government’s design standards.

This is a strategic cycle route linking key employment destinations into a wider network of cycle routes for which demand is only going to increase. Norfolk County Council should be looking at the wider picture.

An in-depth look at the history: How we got here

We take an in-depth look at the history that led to the chaotic mess of Longwater, what the junction is like now, the evolution of the plans, why it ended up so badly and what cycling facilities in the area currently exist. This is a good example of what happens when large scale developments are allowed without proper planning oversight.

The history of the area from the construction of the Norwich southern bypass in 1992 and what’s happened since plans for a walking and cycling route across the Longwater junction were proposed in 2014.

The history – how we got to where we are now

Getting across the junction is stressful and dangerous and it’s been like this since it was built in 1992 – and then William Frost Way was added in 1996.

What the junction is like now

In 2014 plans for Festival Park (the new housing on the outskirts of Easton) were announced and with them came the requirement to create a safe cycling and walking route through the junction.

The 2014 plans

A look at the existing cycle routes in the wider area (from Bowthorpe to Queen’s Hills) which pass through Longwater and and have huge potential if there’s a safe crossing of the junction.

Cycling through Longwater

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