Norwich Prince of Wales Road. BEFORE: Crossing Points had guard railing that restricted where pedestrians could cross. © English Heritage
People in Norwich can rest assured their city centre is one of the best in the country after a summary document published by English Heritage’s national Save Our Streets campaign commended the city for an innovative scheme to improve pedestrian and road safety.
Save Our Streets was established in 2004 and aims to reduce street clutter and improve street design, whilst reinforcing the distinct nature of places.
“The response to Save Our Streets campaign has been tremendous,” said Greg Luton, Regional Director of English Heritage East. “The councils responsible for the case studies we are highlighting today deserve congratulation because they have carefully worked out the procedures for minimising clutter, using existing regulations and guidance and they are prepared to share their knowledge with others.”
At Prince of Wales Road in Norwich City centre, locals can appreciate the difference. The redesign of crossings and removal of guardrails has made travelling through the centre far more pleasurable as getting across the road has ceased to be such an uphill battle.
© English Heritage
(Above) Norwich, Prince of Wales Road. AFTER: Crossings were redesigned and guard railing removed to free up pedestrian movement. The number of signal posts has increased due to the requirements of Puffin signals.
In keeping with research that the removal of guardrails makes roads less dangerous, there has been a reduction in accidents. The remodelling of this key road also involved making the road narrower and crossing points wider, as well as the installation of a puffin crossing.
Prince of Wales Road lies at the centre of the heritage heartland of Norwich. Branching off into Castle Meadow, King Street and Tombland, it is a vital road for both regular city dwellers and tourists.
The road leads to heritage tourist hotspots such as the Guildhall, Norwich Castle, the Forum and the Bridewell Museum. Good, safe pedestrian access is crucial to Norwich’s standing as an internationally renowned historical city attracting thousands of tourists each year.
One of HEART's floor plaques pointing out historic places of interest in Norwich. © HEART
The Save our Streets campaign compliments the long standing work of Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), who have identified the good practice of having street signs attached to walls rather than poles.
A recent HEART project in The Lanes area and branching out from Prince of Wales Road has seen new heritage plaques and signs attached to buildings and the ground.
HEART’s scheme is now complimented by the improved road safety, as visitors can take more a relaxing walk whilst absorbing the plaques’ information and soaking up the heritage all around.
Copies of Streets for All: Practical Case Studies and other Save Our Streets publications can be found at www.english-heritage.org.uk/streetsforall or requested from English Heritage Customer service on 0780 3331181.
Katie Brinkley is the 24 Hour Museum/Norwich HEART Student Writer in Norwich. Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is the groundbreaking initiative to regenerate, manage and promote one of the most remarkable heritage resources in the UK and in Europe.