‘It seems a waste of money’ - trader frustrated despite roads reopening
PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 August 2020
The organiser of a petition against a shake-up to a roads network says he has welcomed its reopening, but remains frustrated picnic benches are still blocking off parking spaces.
North Walsham Market Place reopened to traffic on Monday after a month of controversial closures which prompted petitions and protests from traders. It saw benches and planters put in the middle of roads, which North Norfolk District Council said was for social distancing, but traders said they feared would lead to pedestrianisation.
The council said the plans were “well received” by the public.
Bob White, owner of Showcase Gallery, organised the protest and petition, which was backed by 29 town centre businesses and received more than 1,000 signatures.
He said he was pleased that the road had reopened but was frustrated that four parking spaces were still obstructed by the street furniture and that a disabled space had been cordoned off.
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He said: “The benches and planters serve no purpose, I don’t know what they’re there for, I think what they’ve done for disabled people is great but I would’ve thought there was another way of controlling any queuing other than cordoning off a disabled bay.
“These benches are supposed to make shopping safer and improve social distancing. I can’t see what that does to improve social distancing, other than blocking spaces up which could be used by residents who are our customers.”
“They don’t improve social distancing, they don’t kill Covid, I don’t know why they’re there.”
Mr White has written to North Norfolk District Council to ask why parking spaces were being cordoned off and why the tables and planters remained in place.
When announcing the reopening last week, the council said three of the disabled parking bays would return to use alongside a number of standard parking spaces.
A council spokesman said: “The benches were put in place as part of the original social distancing arrangements in Market Place, and were well received by the public. They provide overflow seating for nearby cafes. As the benches don not completely fill the bays they also allow for some space for people to safely pass and circulate.”
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