'Valuable' free car park bought by council to prevent it being sold off
- Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske
An area used as a free car park for town centre shop owners and workers has been bought by a district council in order to extend it and prevent a private sale.
The Midland Road car park in North Walsham has been fully purchased by North Norfolk District Council from Norfolk County Council as it is one of the town's only free car parking areas within a walking distance of its centre.
Councillor Eric Seward, who led the effort to purchase the land, said half of the land was already owned by the district council which had been leasing it to North Walsham Town Council, with the other half owned by the county council who had put it on the market.
The car park will now be extended to the full length of the land.
Mr Seward said: "It's been an unmade car park for many years, now it's going to be extended and the reason the district council intervened was because the county council wanted to put it up for auction and we didn't want another free car park lost.
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"It's mainly used by people who work in the town and what we want to ensure is that people who work in the town are not parking on residential streets.
"For a small sum, we've bought the remainder of the car park and we will now have a chat with the town council about them running it on a similar basis to how they run the rest of the car park."
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Colin Page who runs CD Page, the town's sweet shop and tobacconist said the free car park was "valuable asset" to the town's workers.
He said: "I use it all the while, most of us do because it's really the only free all-day parking in the town, most of the traders and students use it.
"It's a very useful car park, if you're just going shopping once a week you don't mind putting a pound or two in the meter, but if you're using it every day for work then it is quite a disadvantage."