Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

“It’s going to cause unspeakable damage”: Cycling campaign slams Aldi and council for putting cyclists and pedestrians in danger and “only thinking about drivers”

A new Aldi supermarket is opening in Norwich — but despite agreeing to plans, the supermarket has been blamed of “trying to avoid obligation” and pull out of building the crossing

Norwich Cycling Campaign has slammed the supermarket chain Aldi and the Norfolk Council for opening a store in Longwater Retail Park, Costessey which could cause “unspeakable damage”, with no safe cycling and pedestrian paths and crossings in place.

The new store is set to open on July 6, but there’s not even a proper footpath for pedestrians in the area, let alone a cycle track. To cross over from Long Lane to William Frost Way, where the retail store will open, cyclists have to dismount and cross a 1.5 metre wide footpath on the bridge over A47 — next to a three-lane road with heavy traffic, including HGVs.

Derek Williams from the Norwich Cycling Campaign told road.cc: “The whole thing is really dangerous. There’s a school and a college nearby, this area is supposed to be a safe route for children and teenagers. But the council didn’t do any investigations, no public consultations.”

Even though a crossing on William Frost Way was agreed during the planning process, it is still absent just a week before the supermarket giant opens its doors, and Williams believes that Aldi is “trying to avoid their obligation” to build it.

“What’s happened recently, is that Aldi have decided they don’t want to go about this process. They are fighting it as hard as they can, they are doing everything they can to pull out of paying for it,” said Williams.

1.5 metre footpath over A47 near Longwater Interchange, Norwich (photo: Derek Williams)

1.5 metre footpath over A47 near Longwater Interchange, Norwich (photo: Derek Williams)

Plans have been proposed for more cycling infrastructure, but Williams said that they are “terrifying” and would only pose more risk to those using them.

“Longwater Park is on the edge of the city, nobody can really go there unless they can drive,” said Williams. “It’s been a huge barrier for cycle journeys to the west of Norwich for the last 30 years.”

“So even if they build this low quality cycle path, it’s going to attract a lot of people, because a lot of people, including teenagers and children will be on their bikes going there. But no assessment has ever been made of their needs.”

“It’s going to be downright dangerous, it’s going to cause unspeakable damage.”

He added: “The cycling route they’re planning is a three-metre shared use pavement with a terribly substandard side road junctions, and a terrible crossing of Dereham road to get to the other side of it.

“And on top of that, the bridge over the A47 will just be 50cm wider. This is not infrastructure fit for use by anyone. It’s shameful how they are completely ignoring the LTN1/20 guidelines.”

> “The street was functioning as it should”: People reclaim street meant for pedestrians and cyclists from drivers

There is however, still confusion as to who is to pay for the crossing. A new crossing on William Frost Way was originally proposed as part of the Persimmon housing estate development at Easton.

Aldi insists that when the planning approval was given back in April 2021, it was decided that the project’s funds are to be split between itself and Persimmon.

The supermarket had previously claimed that a crossing will be put in place at some point, saying it’s “in dialogue with officers at South Norfolk Council to find a way for the new crossing to be delivered, by both Aldi and Persimmon as soon as possible”.

An Aldi spokesperson told road.cc: “We are looking forward to opening our new store on July 6, and are working with both the local authority and the developer of a local housing scheme to jointly deliver the new crossing on William Frost Way as soon as possible.”

Williams said that the buck was being passed around, and as the opening date draws closer, with footfall in the area destined to go up, nothing is being done to look after the vulnerable road users.

“Basically they’re trying to squeeze quart into a pint pot. Traffic capacity is their only consideration, walking and cycling are being squeezed into what’s left,” he said.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

Add new comment

8 comments

Avatar
WheezyWheels | 9 months ago
2 likes

...and to add fuel to the fire, the local council have recently approved a new development adding a Starbucks just yards from the new Aldi store. If you have been to the USA, where it is next to impossable to walk/cycle between different stors on a retail park, this is exactly like Norwich Longwater - with the addtion of children trying to get to local schools. The Council are clueless and acting like amateurs in the face of multi-milion pound corporations like Aldi & Starbucks.

Avatar
brooksby | 10 months ago
6 likes

Quote:

Williams believes that Aldi is “trying to avoid their obligation” to build it.

“What’s happened recently, is that Aldi have decided they don’t want to go about this process. They are fighting it as hard as they can, they are doing everything they can to pull out of paying for it,” said Williams.

Happens all the time, on pretty much any new development.  The developer agrees to <something> as a condition for getting their planning permission, but once ground has been broken and walls have started going up, then suddenly the whole project won't be economic unless the developer doesn't provide <something>.  And if the council insists, then the developer will threaten to just walk away and leave the site fallow - it's not as if the land is going to reduce in value...

Avatar
Carior replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
18 likes

brooksby wrote:

Quote:

Williams believes that Aldi is “trying to avoid their obligation” to build it.

“What’s happened recently, is that Aldi have decided they don’t want to go about this process. They are fighting it as hard as they can, they are doing everything they can to pull out of paying for it,” said Williams.

Happens all the time, on pretty much any new development.  The developer agrees to <something> as a condition for getting their planning permission, but once ground has been broken and walls have started going up, then suddenly the whole project won't be economic unless the developer doesn't provide <something>.  And if the council insists, then the developer will threaten to just walk away and leave the site fallow - it's not as if the land is going to reduce in value...

I mean if only we could revoke planning permission when people didn't satisfy the conditions... oh wait.  Its pretty simple - if planning officers don't sign off until the development is completed in line with the consent then Aldi just doesn't get to open up.  They have what is by now a significant financial investment that frankly they aren't going to abandon and the failure to comply with planning would make the property effectively unsellable without fixing it or a price chip - particularly if they chuck an enforcement order in for good order.  This is simply a case of local councils being too soft on business.  No-one is going ot build a whole host of new houses, pump in huge investment and abandon them because the counsel chucks an enforcement order in.

Avatar
quiff replied to brooksby | 10 months ago
5 likes

Even when cycle facilities are actually built as a condition of development, often there is no wider network for them to link into. I can think of a few examples around me where there's a useless 100 yard cycle lane outside a new housing estate which you are then berated for not using.  

Avatar
brooksby replied to quiff | 10 months ago
1 like

It's not just infrastructure, though - followed the local news coverage of many developments where "it's amazing cos we is putting in 30% affordable housing!" then it goes down to 20% and by the time it's built they only have 5%...

Avatar
Jetmans Dad | 10 months ago
5 likes

Quote:

 Traffic capacity is their only consideration, walking and cycling are being squeezed into what’s left

So ... what's new?

Avatar
HLaB replied to Jetmans Dad | 10 months ago
2 likes

Thankfully a few councils are finally ditchiching the predict and provide capacity based assesment and giving more weight to assessibility and taking the climate more serious; we've only been talking about it for 20 years or more  2 We need all councils and all levels of goverment to take that approach though  7

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to HLaB | 10 months ago
0 likes

HLaB wrote:

Thankfully a few councils are finally ditchiching the predict and provide capacity based assesment ...

Which ones?  My local ones aren't (e.g. here and the Blindwells development, West Craigs which is clearly "homes for motor commuters" etc.)!

Latest Comments