Signs stopping customers from parking outside a Dereham convenience store and Chinese takeaway have been removed for ethical reasons, it was claimed this week.

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Norfolk Parking Enforcement (NPE) was brought in by the landlord of the One Stop building and Sunflower House in Norwich Road six months ago. Customers faced a £100 fine if they parked outside either business without the owner’s permission.

Jonathan Lecaille, managing director of NPE, said it was decided last week that the Norwich-based company would pull out of the arrangement with Zevy Shainfeld, who runs London-based ZAS Investment.

NPE works with more than 40 businesses in Norfolk, from corner shops upwards.

Its original aim was to prevent people leaving their cars outside the store for several hours, according to Mr Lecaille.

The company rents out signs, carries out patrols in the protected parking area, gives out permits and issues parking fines, which go to the landowner, not NPE.

Mr Lecaille said: “We want to protect the footfall for businesses so when customers want to use shops they have somewhere to park. As a company, we don’t rely on the income from the money generated from issuing parking notices.

“While it was perfectly legal – because the landowner has the right [to control parking] – we felt it was unethical and damaging to our industry and our own business. I felt extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t think it was fair.”

Mr Lecaille said NPE became “embroiled” in the dispute between One Stop and Mr Shainfeld, caused after the landowner allegedly demanded extra money from the business so its customers could use the parking spaces outside the shop.

“Mr Shainfeld is accusing me of bowing to local pressure.

“I’m bowing to my local business and local ethics. We [NPE] are about prevention and don’t want to be used as a pawn in a commercial dispute,” Mr Lecaille said.

He added the arrangement had cost NPE around £1,500.

The EDP has made several attempts to contact Mr Shainfeld, but he has not responded.

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