Traders’ delight as traffic ban on shopping street is ruled out
- Credit: SOPHIE WYLLIE
Traders are relieved that one of Norwich’s main shopping streets will not be temporarily pedestrianised as part of post-coronavirus changes.
There were concerns that Magdalen Street, which is full of independent shops, would be among a number of city centre roads which could be closed to traffic to help achieve social distancing.
Norfolk County Council and Norwich City Council have made changes so vehicles cannot drive down St Benedicts and Exchange Street to help restaurant and cafe owners promote outdoor eating and give shoppers space.
But a county council spokesman said there are currently no plans to remove bus services from Magdalen Street and any future changes to the street would be consulted with businesses.
Eric Kirk, chairman of Magdalen street area and Anglia Square traders’ association and community group (MATA), said: “I’m delighted. Whenever you see reports of streets closed off to traffic the general retailers have reacted angrily because it affects their trade. I’m glad there are no current plans for Magdalen Street.
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“We at MATA would like to be consulted from the outset. Our main aim is to improve the area for the shoppers and businesses. Without the shoppers, the businesses would not survive. Access is key. We would like to have input on any changes and would like to be listened to.”
He added that Magdalen Street was a key bus interchange and access to the buses as well as car parks was crucial to getting to people onto the street.
MORE: Chef excluded from al fresco seating plans due to crossing - despite road’s closureMr Kirk did not think the pavements were wide enough to cater for outdoor seating and said delivery vehicles needed to park outside shops.
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In a bid to help with social distancing, a one way system has been set up as well as two metre markers put on the pavements.
The council spokesman added: “A recent consultation leaflet regarding proposed changes to St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street featured an overview map showing other areas of the city centre where further measures might be considered.
“The delivery of further measures in other parts of the city will be dependant on the level of additional funding secured from government, which we hope to hear more about later this summer. Any proposals put forward in these areas would be developed in consultation with all local stakeholders.”