‘Absolutely amazing’ - petition against controversial road closures gets over 1,000 signatures

Bob White outside the North Norfolk District Council offices. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Bob White outside the North Norfolk District Council offices. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

A petition launched against town centre road closures has gathered more than 1,000 signatures.

The petition against road closures in North Walsham Market Place was started by Showcase Gallery owner Bob White, who has been campaigning against the measures since they were announced on July 1.

The temporary road closure, which followed similar closures to the road for gas works between January and April was introduced by North Norfolk District Council to “encourage residents and visitors to be able to shop safely in North Walsham, while maintaining appropriate social distancing”.

Mr White delivered a copy of the petition to the council’s offices in Cromer on Thursday morning and has also emailed it to North Walsham Town Council.

He said: “It’s amazing, absolutely amazing, it’s only been going for a week and people are happy to sign it and interested. We can only try and involve the public who obviously want to get involved as we’ve got 1,000 signatures.

Mr White has been collecting signatures on a table outside his shop, and a large number of the town’s businesses have been helping him gather support by providing their own sheets for customers to sign, with 26 businesses putting their name to his open letter to North Norfolk District Council.

In the open letter Mr White said closures had been “devastating” for the town adding that it had “ripped the heart out of the Market Place”.

He said that all but three of the shops he visited had agreed to put their name to the letter, and that those who hadn’t still didn’t fully support road closures.

A council spokesman said: “We have received a copy of the open letter and the petition, and can confirm we are in constant dialogue with interested parties including the town and county council.

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“We are constantly reviewing measures in North Walsham and other towns in our district. If any changes need to be made and are agreed by the relevant parties, these will be actioned.

“Our main priority remains helping people shop as safely as possible while the virus is still prevalent.”