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‘It’s at breaking point’ - Crackdown pledge on drivers parking on £4m plaza

PUBLISHED: 12:06 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 February 2020

The amount of cars parked around St George's Theatre and Christchurch in Great Yarmouth is drawing concerns Picture: Charles Palmer

The amount of cars parked around St George's Theatre and Christchurch in Great Yarmouth is drawing concerns Picture: Charles Palmer

Archant

Drivers are spoiling the setting of a grade one-listed theatre by parking illegally on the public space around it.

St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth, a converted chapel, was refurbished seven years ago, sweeping away a car park for an entertainment plaza and pavilion.

It dominates one of the gateway entrances to the town at the top of King Street, once the last word in luxury living for wealthy merchants.

However, the number of cars now parking illegally all day on the plaza and around the companion pavilion is drawing complaints, with drivers leaving their vehicles for a whole day and clogging up what should be an attractive open space.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: "It's at breaking point.

Debbie Thompson is theTheatre director for St Georges theatre, Yarmouth.

Picture: Nick ButcherDebbie Thompson is theTheatre director for St Georges theatre, Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

"We have put notices up but it's just as if word has got around.

"We have got to get it sorted.

"People are parking for the day and it is different cars all the time.

"It really has got out of hand.

"It started when Fatso's was being worked on and trucks and lorries had to park on our plaza, and now it has grown and grown.

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"It is just spoiling the whole approach to St George's."

She added: "It is borough council land and we lease it. We do think we can get signs and a warden up here. It stops it being this stunning building and people appreciating it as a theatre."

Mrs Thomspon said as well as spoiling the setting the number of cars crammed in on the site made it difficult for people in wheelchairs or mobility scooters to negotiate, and also for theatre business with clear access needed to the building.

"It is a huge problem for us," she added. "They should not be parking there and something is going to be done."

A year ago the theatre's future looked uncertain and it was handed £70,000 by Great Yarmouth Borough Council to guarantee its future for three years.

However, it was now in a position to advertise for a general manager proving its fortunes were on the up.

"It's just the parking that is the real bugbear," Mrs Thompson added.

The theatre's restoration was part of a £4m Townscape Heritage Initiative project.

A spokesperson for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: "We have received a number of reports about irresponsible parking in this area which is well served by the nearby King Street carpark.

"Norfolk County Council, as local highways authority, is responsible for deciding highways restrictions and is leading on this issue.

"We encourage all motorists to park considerably."

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