‘Pedestrianisation through the COVID door’ - benches installed on town centre roads

Benches have been added to North Walsham's market place. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Benches were added to North Walsham's market place last year. - Credit: Archant

Picnic benches and plant pots have been put in the middle of a town centre’s roads just days after traders and shoppers protested against road closures and pedestrianisation.

At 9am on Monday North Walsham shopkeepers joined residents to protest road closures in the Market Place, with many fearing it would lead to the town being pedestrianised.

Bob White, owner of Showcase Gallery, who organised the protest, said: “Just hours after we finished protesting they put tables in the market places. There are three pub-style benches, which have been screwed into the surface.

“These have got nothing to do with COVID recovery, so nobody can understand it, and it looks a very underhand way of getting pedestrianisation.

“Pedestrianisation through the COVID door.”

Ian Clark, a North Walsham resident at Monday’s protest, said: “COVID-19 has been hijacked in order to push through pedestrianisation. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”

North Norfolk District Council said the benches and plants were a temporary measure that would be constantly under review.

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A council spokesman said: “These are part of the social distancing measures temporarily put in place to allow for overflow seating while the road is closed to vehicles. As with all measures currently in place, these will be constantly reviewed.”