Market days in Aylsham to be cut in bid to solve parking problems

Market days in Aylsham are to undergo a reshuffle in a bid to ease parking problems that have sprung up after the town's historic central square was refurbished.

The town is home to weekly markets on Mondays and Fridays and farmers markets on the first and third Saturday of the month, and since the �70,000 overhaul the square has been made a pedestrian only zone on each of these days.

But the changes have caused chaos for motorists used to parking amongst the stalls and town councillors have now decided to take action to solve the problems by cutting the number of market days.

Mondays and the first Saturday of each month will be classed as market days while Fridays and the third Saturday of the month will run as normal trading days.

Stall holders will still be able set up on non-market days but will have to pitch on the paved area outside the town hall, which will only accommodate around three or four stands.

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Chairman Eileen Springall proposed the changes at a meeting last night (Thursday) and was backed by the majority of members who thought it was a 'shame' they would have to scrap two market days, but agreed something needed to be done.

Shop owners have become increasingly concerned that the parking problems - which left drivers being hit with tickets after a new civil enforcement team swooped on the restrictions - was driving business away from the town.

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Nikki Postle, of JB Postle, told members businesses were worried about the 'economic viability' of the market place since it had been refurbished.

She added: 'We so much want this to be a destination town but feel things are very much against us with what is going on in the market place, and this is our heart and our passion.'

Mrs Springall stressed business owners were not against markets being held in the town but was keen for the council to take immediate action to address the problems.

'Of course we have to be considerate to the stall holders but primarily we have to be considerate to the businesses that are residents of Aylsham. We're going to lose a lot more if shops start to go out of business,' she said.

Members' decision will now be fed back to Norfolk County Council, which will make the necessary changes to signs stating the new market day restrictions. The reshuffle will be brought in for an 18 month trial period during which members can make additional changes.

? Members were also informed a no entry sign put up at the market place entrance next to the Black Boys Inn, which has been causing serious confusion for motorists, is due to be taken down on May 17.

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