Alan Partridge Norwich pedestrianisation marks 50 years
A city whose traffic plans were made famous by Alan Partridge is marking 50 years since one of its roads became the first to be pedestrianised in England.
London Street in Norwich was pedestrianised on 17 July 1967.
The pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre is often referenced by fans of the fictional DJ, played by comedian Steve Coogan.
The Norwich Society said the city had “pioneered pedestrianisation in the UK”.
Alan Partridge posed the question “what do you think about the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre?” during an intimate scene.
In the episode from 1997, Partridge said: “I’ll be honest, I’m dead against it. People forget that traders need access to Dixons.
“They do say it will help people in wheelchairs.”
Norwich City Council approved plans to pedestrianise more parts of the city in 2015.
Paul Burall, vice chairman of the Norwich Society, said: “Norwich pioneered pedestrianisation in the UK and continues to extend the benefits, with another two streets being pedestrianised in the last two years.
“While a few local people agree with Alan Partridge and still want to be able to drive everywhere, the vast majority welcome the ability to walk around without the noise, pollution and potential danger from traffic, and the great majority of traders recognise the benefits as well.”
Norwich is far from being the only town or city whose profile has been raised by its television connections.
- Billericay in Essex and Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan were made famous by sitcom Gavin and Stacey as the home towns of the two main characters
- Peter Kay decided to set his sitcom, Phoenix Nights, in a working men’s club in his real-life hometown of Bolton
- Last Tango in Halifax has done much to increase the profile of, well, Halifax
- The Peaky Blinders and Birmingham
- Inspector Morse and Oxford
During the pedestrianisation ceremony, the then Lord Mayor of Norwich CH Sutton tied – rather than cut – a ribbon across London Street to signify its closure to traffic.
Although other shopping areas – such as those in new towns like Stevenage – were made pedestrian-only long before London Street, the Norwich road was the first to be closed to motorised traffic and given over to pedestrians.