The Longwater junction is a barrier to walking and cycling to the west of the city
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 due to be significantly improved) as well as 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.
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 with the junction
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. There is no practical way to cross either of these for anyone not in a motor vehicle.
There is no proper footpath, much less a cycle track, connecting the east and west parts of Dereham Road either side of the A47.
What’s being proposed?
During the planning process for the Festival Park housing estate it was made a requirement that a safe pedestrian and cycling route through the junction was built in order to reduce car use and to provide a safe route for pupils attending the academy school in New Costessey to the east of the junction.
These plans take no account of the wider pressures created by the ongoing needs of the area as mentioned above.
The proposal 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 and won’t connect to a useable crossing of William Frost Way.
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.
News coverage on our blog
20th June 2022: Plans for the junction are announced.
Dangerous plans for Longwater that ignore cycling
3rd October 2022: The safety audit reveals the dangers of the proposed crossing.
Longwater junction update
6th February 2023: We release our proposals for the junction.
Our proposals for the Longwater junction
4th March 2023: Longwater – What’s wrong with what’s being proposed
Longwater – What’s wrong with what’s being proposed – Norwich Cycling Campaign
2nd May 2023: Longwater – the full scheme explained
Longwater – The full scheme explained – Norwich Cycling Campaign
10th July 2023: Aldi store opens without promised cycle crossing
Longwater – Aldi store opens without promised cycle crossing
28th July 2023: Longwater junction “death zone” – Easton College students and staff give their verdict
Longwater junction “death zone” – Easton College students and staff give their verdict
An in-depth look at the area
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 overall 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.
Getting across the junction is stressful and dangerous and it’s been like this since it was built in 1992 and William Frost Way was added in 1996.
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.
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.
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