Hope that new owners of Earlham House Shopping Centre will help to relax parking enforcement
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Hopes are today high that the new owner of a city shopping centre will seek to relax controversial parking rules which have 'deterred' shoppers.
Business owners last year claimed that parking enforcement at Earlham House in Norwich was driving trade away from the complex.
They said customers were being fined if their tyres touched the white lines in parking spaces or if they stopped briefly to drop off items.
But following the recent sale of the centre on Earlham Road by Bellgold Properties Ltd, councillors are optimistic things could change.
Denise Carlo, Green councillor for Nelson Ward, said: 'We would like them [the new owners] to approach National Parking Enforcement (NPE) and ask it not have such a heavy approach to parking. We would also like for the CCTV cameras to be removed. Most of the offences relate to people parking on white lines for a few minutes.'
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While Bellgold Properties did not respond to our calls for comment, it is understood Earlham House has been sold to Castelnau Acquisitions Ltd.
Ms Carlo said it was 'unclear' whether the freehold sale included the car park at the complex.
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Hugo Malik, Labour councillor for Nelson Ward, said there had already been some issues following the sale.
He said bins had not been emptied for a week and the centre's handyman was unsure about the future of his contract.
'There is still some doubt about who owns what now,' he added. 'Because apparently the car park area was not sold by Bellgold,
'So there was some conflict about some of the bins and which owners were responsible for certain ones.'
Mr Malik said the bins at the centre had since been emptied.
In June last year traders staged a demonstration over the way NPE handled contraventions of the parking rules.
NPE is contracted by Bellgold to enforce the parking and uses CCTV to spot violations.
More than 180 people signed a petition at the time to both companies asking them to adopt a more reasonable approach to the issue.
NPE previously said less than 0.3pc of the 12,740 vehicles which use the car park each month breached parking terms and conditions – the majority for parking in disabled bays without displaying blue badges.