‘Stupid beyond belief’ - shop owner anger as town market place to close to traffic

Showcase Gallery owner Bob White says road closures will 'kill the town' of North Walsham. Picture:

Showcase Gallery owner Bob White says road closures will 'kill the town' of North Walsham. Picture: supplied by Bob White - Credit: supplied by Bob White

A shop owner has reacted with fury after it was announced a town’s Market Place would close for the second time this year.

North Walsham shop owners had been hit by a double whammy of the closure of its central Market Place to traffic from January to April due to gas works and lockdown closures due to coronavirus, however now it has been announced that the town’s central roads will close for a second time.

North Norfolk Distict Council announced today that the Market Place would close to traffic from Monday July 6 in order to “encourage residents and visitors to be able to shop safely in North Walsham, while maintaining appropriate social distancing”.

The town centre roads will close for an unspecified amount of time to be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Two hour free parking currently offered on Vicarage Street and Bank Loke will also end on July 6 and will be replaced with a smaller number of free parking spaces in the Bank Loke car park for one hour of free parking.

Showcase Gallery owner, Bob White has started a ‘No Traffic, No Custom, No Future’ poster campaign in response to the road closures, which he says will drive shoppers away from the town after his business had begun to recover, seeing its most profitable month of the year during June.

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He said: “There’s no doubt at all that the feeling among shop owners in the town is one of disbelief, nobody can believe it.

“If you want to kill the town, that’s how you do it, what about disabled people? What about people with walking difficulties? I just find it stupid beyond belief.

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“This month has been my best month of sales, the town was coming back to life, and now what’s going to happen? It’s going to be killed stone dead.”

Eric Seward, councillor for North Walsham East said: “These temporary measures are being taken to encourage shoppers to support the business community in North Walsham, by shopping safely and confidently whilst still being able to adopt the appropriate social distancing measures.

“We will of course be reviewing the measures we will be putting in place on an on-going and regular basis to ensure they are still required.”

MORE: Council grants road restriction powers for 13 towns to boost high streets

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