Independent Norwich businesses voice frustration at new parking charges
- Credit: Emma Knights
Independent shops in a city street have voiced frustrations at how new parking charges are affecting their businesses.
A 50 pence up-front charge for roadside parking in the city was voted in by councillors last September and came into effect at the end of May.
Upper St Giles Street is one of the roads where it has meant parking for the first 15 minutes went from costing 30p to 80p, and 30p per 15 minutes after that.
Businesses in the area say the initial 50p flat fee has had a negative impact.
Isabel Brentnall, manager of Bread Source, said: 'I think the jump is pretty crazy. It is such a leap from 30p to 80p. I think on a road of independent shops it is discouraging people from stopping and parking here.'
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She added: 'The general consensus on the street is that it is quite unfair.'
Anne Falgate, from Cupcake and Co, said: 'Customers used to be able to pay 30p secure in the knowledge they could collect their cakes and pop in for a coffee whereas now it is 80p. You add that to your cup of coffee and it's a lot of difference.'
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She added: 'It definitely has had an effect and it is hard for independents anyway.'
Louise Bunning, owner of Mora Lifestyle, said: 'The [parking] machine is right outside my door so I do hear what people say, and people have not been happy about it.'
She said: 'It remains to be seen whether it really puts people off. I think a lot of people don't realise at the moment.'
One of the owners of The Post Room, who did not want to be named, said: 'In terms of when we park here personally, it is expensive for us as shop owners. It has been pretty quiet the last month so I don't know if it is putting people off. It might be. I think it is ludicrously expensive personally.'
As previously reported the new charges implemented on May 28 affect two types of short stay parking bays in the city - those previously costing 50 pence per 15 minutes and those costing 30 pence per 15 minutes. The charges are now: higher rate (Band A) £1 for the first 15 minutes, 50 pence per 15 minutes thereafter; and lower rate (Band B) 80 pence for the first 15 minutes, 30 pence per 15 minutes thereafter.
A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'Besides generating income for the council, the idea is to encourage people who plan to stay for longer periods of time – one hour and above – to use car parks so there can be a faster turnover of spaces for local businesses.'