Norwich woman blocks cars from pedestrianised city road

12 Nov.,2022


street blockers

A woman acting as a human bollard on a pedestrianised city road was removed by police to allow cars through.

She was attempting to demonstrate how cars were illegally using the road. 

It is currently a pedestrian and cycle zone between 10am and 5pm every day but is still used by many motorists looking to cut through to St Andrews Street.

Lucy Hall, 66 and from Norwich, was on the road on November 5 when she got to "the end of (her) tether" and began blocking vehicles trying to illegally use the road.

Many passersby were supportive of Lucy, but some motorists didn't share their feelings.

One driver reportedly got out of his car to shout at Ms Hall to get out of his way.

Soon after, police arrived on the scene and removed Ms Hall from the road to allow motorists to get through.

She said: "I was trying to make a point that it should be possible to stand in a pedestrian zone for a while.

"You might be talking to friends or catching your breath or checking your phone.

"And I've tried other avenues – speaking to the police, to the council, to a public consultation - all to no avail.

"The pavements on Exchange Street are often crowded and I'm currently using crutches so I use the road since it’s pedestrianised.

Pedestrians blocking cars from entering Exchange Street (Image: Contributed)

"But I always get drivers beeping and shouting at me. I’m fairly mobile but this is also a disability access issue.

"If an area is called a ‘pedestrian and cycle zone’ but drivers are using it at some speed then it’s dangerous.

"The police were a little heavy-handed. I was expecting them to have a word with the drivers rather than threaten to arrest me."

In the last year, only four city drivers have been fined for flouting zone restrictions.

Matt White from Car Free Norwich called the zone an "excellent idea, terribly executed".

He said: "Without anything stopping vehicles from driving down Exchange Street, they continue to illegally do so.

Police moved shoppers out of the road to make way for cars (Image: Contributed)

"This means none of the benefits of pedestrianisation are realised - like pleasant space with cleaner air, safe room for people to amble, higher footfall for businesses.

"It's brilliant that brave individuals are acting to try and protect this space but we need the council to do this properly by installing bollards or an enforcement camera."

Paul Neale, Green county councillor, said: "The question needs asking, why are the police removing a pedestrian who has a legitimate right to expect to walk safely along Exchange Street rather than issuing fines to drivers or at the very least cautioning them and turning them around.

"The council needs to put bigger, clearer signage at the top of Gaol Hill and St Peters Street with painted road surface signage"

Norfolk Police was contacted for comment.

Exchange Street is closed to traffic between 10am and 4pm every day (Image: Contributed)