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Parking fears as developers lodge bid for permits in busy zone

PUBLISHED: 09:40 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 23 November 2019

St Matthews Road in Norwich. Photo: Archant

St Matthews Road in Norwich. Photo: Archant

Archant

A bid to secure six new parking permits for a busy city zone has sparked fears for locals that finding a spot will become even more difficult.

St Matthews Road in Norwich. Photo: ArchantSt Matthews Road in Norwich. Photo: Archant

Plans to convert the old Gem Printers, on the corner of Rosary Road and St Matthews Road, were approved by Norwich City Council in 2007.

But work stalled, and the disused site became a hotspot for anti-social behaviour until it was bought by M&A Norfolk Ltd last year, when work resumed.

With work having started since 2007, new planning permission was not needed - and it may mean the council is more likely to honour a parking provision discussed in 2007, saying each of the six apartments would receive a permit, and access to the visitor permit scheme.

MORE: The Norwich streets where there are more parking permits than spaces

Today, any new builds in Norwich are generally exempt from the permit scheme to avoid pressure on existing spaces.

In December, the council's highways team will decide on M&A Norfolk's bid for the permits - prompting people living locally to lodge objections.

Akis Chrisovelides and Mark Bailey outside the property on Rosary Road, Norwich. PHOTO: M&A Norfolk Ltd.Akis Chrisovelides and Mark Bailey outside the property on Rosary Road, Norwich. PHOTO: M&A Norfolk Ltd.

Will de Spretter, 27, who is objecting with other residents, said: "Parking is already very difficult, as many people have two cars and we are competing with the business permits for the road."

His fears were echoed by a woman who said it was difficult to find a space nearby, saying that she parks close to her house roughly twice a week.

Another woman, though, said the situation would be worse if, as in other streets, houses lined the opposite side.

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Ben Price, a Norwich city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said it was a complicated situation, pointing to a "lack of joined up thinking".

MORE: Virtual parking permits to be introduced in Norwich

Ben Price, city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: Norwich GreensBen Price, city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: Norwich Greens

He said granting the permits would "put cars first", going against the council's focus on sustainable transport.

Twelve years ago, when approving the plans, the council acknowledged there was already "existing pressure" on parking permits.

But it is understood the council feels it may have to honour the 2007 arrangement.

A city council spokesperson said the issue would be considered at the Norwich Highways Agency committee on December 19, and that a number of comments had been received as part of it, which would be taken into account.

Figures from a Freedom of Information request in September reveal that the city council has handed out 48 permits in Rosary Road, where there are just 17 spaces.

In St Matthews Road, though, the figures showed there have been 19 permits issued for 41 spaces.

We have been unable to reach M&A Norfolk Ltd for comment.

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