Parking charge attempt held off by lack of access to centre’s buildings
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Business owners look to have staved off a firm's threat to introduce parking charges at a Norwich shopping centre, which they said could be a 'nail in the coffin' on trade in the area.
National Parking Enforcement (NPE) wanted to slap a £1-a-day flat fee on parking at Earlham House from the start of June, on behalf of Bellgold Properties, which owns the car park.
But despite having put up signs informing about the changes, the car park lacks a pay-and-display machine or an enforcement camera at one entry, meaning no charges can be made.
Martin Baker, who runs Earlham House Post Office, is among those opposing the charge, fearing it would a 'nail in the coffin' for businesses in the area.
Mr Baker said the charges had not started because NPE was not able to go into the Earlham House building. He said: 'They haven't been able to access the building to install any more equipment.
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'The most frustrating thing at the money is that everyone is looking at the signs and wondering what's happening because the date has now passed.
'It's very confusing and frustrating.'
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Bellgold Properties used to own both the buildings and the car park. But it recently sold the freehold of the shops and flats to another business called Castelnau, while keeping the car park.
But it is understood Castelnau has not allowed NPE into the building to install the equipment, in support of the traders.
Mr Baker said: 'They (NPE) are running one of their cameras off the building at the bottom car park, which is powered by electric and broadband.
'They would need something similar at the other end, but they can't put that up if they can't have access to the building. We have been told that if they do try to access the building it would be trespass.'
Mr Baker said traders were also working with a solicitor to try and block the parking charge, if, as suspected, it ran against the terms of their leases. He said: 'The initial signs are that free parking is there in the lease, and they can't overturn that.'
Attempts were made to contact Castlenau, National Parking Enforcement and Bellgold with no response.
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