‘Don’t forget about us’ - traders on Great Yarmouth’s Regent Road calling for some TLC

Regent Road, Great Yarmouth. 
Picture: James Bass Regent Road, Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Saturday, April 26, 2014
9:10 AM

It is teeming with tourists during the summer season, but traders on Great Yarmouth’s busy Regent Road say the street is being overlooked.

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Regent Road traders who are speaking out, they are calling on council to clamp down on rogue traders, stop traffic and maintain street furniture to improve the road.
(L TO R)  Richard Marks, Alan Pitt and David Withers.

Picture: James BassRegent Road traders who are speaking out, they are calling on council to clamp down on rogue traders, stop traffic and maintain street furniture to improve the road. (L TO R) Richard Marks, Alan Pitt and David Withers. Picture: James Bass

A handful of shop owners claim cars and vans are flouting the rules by driving and parking on the pedestrianised street, while the benches, street lighting and signs are falling into disrepair.

Money was spent on the shopping strip a decade ago as part of the £16.3m InteGREAT regeneration scheme and the road boasts a run of independent shops, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Richard Marks, who runs Woodcraft Gifts, believes Regent Road should be treated as a gem in Yarmouth’s crown but is repeatedly “ignored” by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

“We have had a few Regent Road traders’ meetings with the council within the last six months and we’ve been told these problems would be sorted out, but nothing has,” he said.

“It seems they treat us as second fiddle. The town centre gets all the funding, while we don’t even get the weeds removed from under the benches.”

Mr Marks is particularly concerned about cars using the pedestriansed road, putting lives of families and children at risk.

His neighbouring trader Alan Pitt, who worked in his parents’ shop on Regent Road for many years before opening bags and accessories store Bag three years ago, agrees – but believes the problem is much bigger.

“The whole town is looking tired,” he said.

“I’ve also got a stall on the market and there’s no investment there either.

“They put the lights in before I was here, but they’ve not been maintained. Things are done but then they are not looked after. The Public Information Pillars (PIPs) look terrible.

“I know these are only little things, but all these small things add up and it has an impact of the reputation of the whole town.”

David Withers, who has been running The Firm clothes and gift shop since 1980, said: “There’s a lot of talk but nothing happens.

“I pay rates and I want to see the council doing something. Some mornings you have to come and sweep the rubbish out of the doorway yourself because it’s not being done.

“There’s a lot of frustration and it’s been like this for years.”

Borough council leader Trevor Wainwright said he wasn’t aware of the specific concerns raised by the traders but, now that he was, he would take action.

He said he would be contacting GYBC’s traffic wardens to ask them to increase patrols along Regent Road and ensure enforcement was carried out. He said he would also get maintenance officers to look at repairing the lights, admitting the run-down state of them was an issue that had previously been raised.

“Regent Road is a very important link from the town centre to the seafront and by no means is it being neglected,” said Mr Wainwright.

“It is pedestrianised, there is seating and there is a good mix of retail down there.

“As a council we want to support traders on Regent Road and we welcome any comments.

“If people have concerns, they can contact me directly.”

The issue of cars using Regent Road is overseen by the Highways department at Norfolk County Council.

Mr Wainwright said plans for new signs were currently being processed and new signs, reminding motorists of the rules, should be installed by July. Those caught using the road would face enforcement and could be ticketed.

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