Cromer market move set to be ditched after public opposition

Stall holders and taxi drivers concerns over the proposal to move Cromer market. Left to right, Kim

Stall holders and taxi drivers concerns over the proposal to move Cromer market. Left to right, Kim Holt, Iain Jagger, Debbie Banks, Nigel Ward, Tom Humphreys, Stephen Browne, Marc Wye-Harris, Karl Jagger, Paul Kendrick and Steve Heels.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans to move Cromer market into the town centre are set to be ditched - after the public said 'No thanks.'

More than 400 people responded to a North Norfolk District Council questionnaire on the idea.

And the majority were against shifting the Friday market from The Meadow car park to the southern end of High Street, and Tucker Street.

As a result, the council cabinet is expected to recommend on Monday that the proposal is dropped.

It is also set to bin alternative ideas which included moving the market to Budgens car park.

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The first plan, aimed at giving the market a higher profile and attracting more shoppers, would also have seen the Tucker Street taxi rank shifted to Bond Street and/or Cadogan Road to make way for the stalls.

The cabinet recommendation has been welcomed by market stallholders and taxi drivers, who delivered a 448-signature protest petition and 288 completed questionnaires to the council.

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Those questionnaires, almost all of which opposed the scheme, represented more than half of the total received by the council. Steve Heels, spokesman for the North Norfolk Taxi and Private Hire Association, said if Monday's cabinet recommendation was approved, it would be 'very good news.'

Cromer cabbie Brian Allright said the plan would not have worked.

The taxis' many elderly customers would not have been able to carry their shopping from Budgens to the proposed new taxi rank sites.

Delivery lorries needed to be able to reach businesses in the area, flat owners wanted vehicle access to their homes, and coaches would not be able to take passengers to and from the Hotel de Paris.

'We're very relieved that it looks as if it's going to be thrown out - it was a stupid idea,' he added.

Market trader Karl Jagger said he and his father Iain, who have run their Norfolk Landscaping plant stall at Cromer market for about 30 years, would be relieved if the plan was dropped.

They feared losing customers who would not have been able to load their vehicles with plants in the smaller town centre site.

There were also concerns that there was no easy access to public toilets in the town centre, and that High Street and Tucker Street were too cold and windy in winter.

Rhodri Oliver, deputy leader of the council, said there had been a 'marginal majority' against the proposal.

He added: 'It was a perfectly reasonable question to put to people. Their answer has not been in favour and we need to recognise that. NNDC is prepared to consult and listen.'

Councillor Russell Wright, who had been overseeing the market move proposal, defected from the Conservatives to UKIP last month.

Mr Oliver said a number of alternative ideas Mr Wright had considered would not be brought forward.

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