A community rally will be held in King’s Lynn tomorrow (Saturday) by protestors opposing plans to open part of a bus route to general traffic.
Hardings Way, opened in 2011, currently allows buses, cyclists and pedestrians to access the town centre from South Lynn, avoiding congestion on Southgates Roundabout and London Road.
The route cost £5.3m and skirts Harding’s Pits, cutting through the Boal Quay car park to join South Quay.
West Norfolk Council approved plans which would see part of the road opened to general traffic and the bus gate moved 15 metres.
Norfolk County Council, which is responsible for traffic regulation orders, agreed to allow cars to use the first 125 metres last year to allow borough-council land on either side to be developed.
Last summer, the borough council also endorsed a riverside redevelopment plan which could see the entire route opened to general traffic.
Protestors say the proposals would make the area less safe for cyclists and walkers, subject children walking to Whitefriars Primary Academy to danger, noise and pollution, destroy the peace and quiet of Hardings Pits nature reserve, and pose an increased risk to air quality.
They also argue that the proposals would do nothing to solve the town’s congestion problems and say traffic diverted along Hardings Way would make new bottlenecks at Millfleet on inward journeys and at South Lynn outwards.
Alexandra Kemp, Norfolk county councillor for Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South, said it was the “last chance saloon” with the county council planning works on the road next month.
She said the works included moving the bus gate, allowing heavier HGVs access to the first section of road and allowing 44-tonne coaches to access the coach works via Hardings Way.
“I am seriously worried that the road will cave in and there will be a tragic accident if maximum 44-tonne HGVs are allowed,” she said.
“Planners in Norwich make decisions about Lynn and do not listen. More than 120 written objections, 1,400 online signatures against traffic on Hardings Way South, but the county council is still ignoring the local community, just as they did with the incinerator.”
The rally will take place at 11.30am, at the Wisbech Road entry in South Lynn.
An online petition has also been launched with organisers hoping to gather 5,000 signatures which would force a full council debate. It can be found at 38degrees.org.uk