Residents’ plea to save Norwich car park from being turned into flats

Goldwell Road residents Ray Davis, Jenny Waring, Diane Jackson and Richard and Jean Pyke are concern

Goldwell Road residents Ray Davis, Jenny Waring, Diane Jackson and Richard and Jean Pyke are concerned by the plans for the new flats in place of their parking facilities. - Credit: Archant

Residents of a city housing estate are appealing for the support of their neighbours as they look to block plans which will see them lose their parking facilities. Plans have been submitted to Norwich City Council by Orwell Housing Association seeking to build six new flats on Goldwell Road, close to Queens Road.

However, these plans will see the demolition of seven garages and the loss of the residents' car park.

The car park currently consists of 18 spaces, including two disabled spaces, meaning, if plans are approved and completed, the estate would have 25 fewer places to park.

Now residents are looking for as much support as they can get to save the car park.

A petition circulating against the plans has already gathered around 60 signatures, however, the residents are hoping for more support.

Diane Jackson, 50, of Goldwell Road, said: 'This car park is essential to us – it isn't just used by residents, but people who visit as well.

'If people do not give us more support, we will lose it, which will be devastating.'

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Miss Jackson is registered disabled and makes use of one of the car park's disabled spaces, as does neighbour Jean Pyke.

Mrs Pyke, 70, said: 'It would be ridiculous if we lost the car park.'

Her husband, Richard Pyke, 71, added: 'The plan is bad news – we have a garage and neither of us can walk very far. Where are we supposed to park if the plans go ahead?'

The car park and garages are also used by surrounding roads, including nearby Southwell Road, where 69-year-old Ray Davis lives. He said: 'I'm a bit disappointed by the number of people who have taken the time to provide their comments to the plans – I think some think signing a petition will be enough, but it won't. We need all the help we can get.'

Jenny Waring, 79, of Goldwell Road, added: 'My family regularly visit me now my husband is no longer with us – if they have nowhere to park how will they be able to continue visiting?'

Issues with access due to additional roadside parking and loss of light to neighbouring flats have also been raised.

The Evening News was unable to contact Orwell Housing Association over the weekend, however, in its design and access statement, Orwell said: 'We believe this application addresses all of the issues raised.'

Parking surveys

As part of the planning process, a series of surveys have been carried out to assess how frequently the spaces in the car park are used.

On eight different occasions between May 11 and July 13, Norwich planning officers visited the site, keeping record of how many spaces were taken up and how many were vacant.

Initial surveys, consisting of five visits, showed that on average the car park is 70pc occupied, with a total count of 63 taken and 27 vacant spaces over the five visits.

However, these counts varied according to the time of day they were inspected; for example, a visit at 9am on Thursday, May 12, showed 50pc occupancy.

Another daytime visit, at 2.45pm on Wednesday, May 11, saw seven out of 18 spaces vacant.

However, a visit at 12.05am on Tuesday July 19, saw all 18 spaces in the car park occupied. Another visit, at 11.30pm on June 14, again saw the entire car park occupied, echoing a point made by Miss Jackson.

She said: 'Many of the people who make use of the car park commute to work, so of course there will be spaces in the day time.

'However, overnight the car park is almost always full.'

The officer who conducted the visit on July 19 commented on the report that at this time, 13 spaces were available on the streets – 10 on single yellow lines on Goldwell Road and three further permit bays on nearby Kings Lane.

A city council spokesman said: 'We worked closely with residents in Goldwell Road during the pre-planning consultation, including blue badge holders, and did some surveys to see how much the garages and car park were being used. If Orwell's application is approved, six spaces will be retained by the council for general use by people in the area, including two disabled bays.

'Orwell's application does not provide any parking for the six proposed flats on the site. However, the surveys we carried out showed that nearby streets would also be able to accommodate the parking needs of local residents.'

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