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Anger at baby cafe as parking spaces are sealed off on city street

PUBLISHED: 11:25 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:25 06 February 2019

The group of mums who are unable to park due to blocked parking spaces. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The group of mums who are unable to park due to blocked parking spaces. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

Parents could be unable to attend free baby classes because a clutch of nearby parking spaces have been closed, it has been claimed.

Ingrid Henry, owner of Twinkle Toes in Sussex Street Norwich, shows the empty parking spaces. Picture: Victoria PertusaIngrid Henry, owner of Twinkle Toes in Sussex Street Norwich, shows the empty parking spaces. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Six free spaces on Oak Street have been shut off because of the development of 40 homes on the site of a former reclamation yard.

It is round the corner from Twinkle Toes Baby Café on Sussex Street, which offers a free programme of activities and classes for babies.

Now Ingrid Henry, who runs the cafe, fears the closure of the free parking spaces will put parents off visiting.

The parking bay was closed last week to allow building to start on the homes, with the temporary parking restriction in place until November 12.

Ingrid Henry, owner of Twinkle Toes. Picture: Victoria PertusaIngrid Henry, owner of Twinkle Toes. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Ms Henry said the already strained parking situation had been made unbearable by the closure.

More than 100 families a week visit the café and Ms Henry said she feared the looming closure of multiple Sure Start children’s centres would send even more to their door, without the parking spaces to cater for them.

She said: “Lots of the parents that use our services have young children with special needs so walking in isn’t practical. Others come from deprived areas so can’t afford to use pay and display.”

Lianne Mills, who works at Twinkle Toes, launched an online petition calling on Norwich City Council to find a temporary alternative while the Oak Street bay is out of action.

Ingrid Henry showing the empty spaces in front of her business. Picture: Victoria PertusaIngrid Henry showing the empty spaces in front of her business. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Sussex Street has 21 permit only spaces available and Ms Mills said during the day most of them were left empty.

She said: “These spaces only fill up after 5pm when the permit holders return home from work, so we would like the permit bays to be made into normal parking between 9.30am and 4pm when they are left unused.”

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: ““It’s important that roads are kept moving, are safe and serve the needs of everyone. This includes the business owner of this café, the other businesses in the area, the developers carrying out work, the residents who live there, as well as pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.

“Suggestions or petitions proposing alternative arrangements will always be received with interest and the ideas balanced against the needs of all concerned.”

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