Officials hope parking confusion at a shopping complex can be resolved to help struggling businesses battle back before Christmas.

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Earlham House is being revamped, with Bellgold Properties estimating it will spend a seven-figure sum to complete the work.

But talks have been going on to resolve parking issues reported by people using the Earlham Road building, which also includes flats.

Traders have told the Evening News more needs to be done to make it clearer to customers where they can park – rather than warning them off where they cannot.

Bellgold insists the new parking permits and restrictions agreed upon at the site have been “well received” and have brought an end to previous “widespread abuse of the parking facilities”.

Claire Stephenson, a Norwich city councillor for the area, said: “People are put off by the barriers and the signs. The businesses are under a lot of strain at the moment and people need to support them and they can park here.”

Visitors are being advised not to park between the rear of the shops and Bately Court.

But spaces are available behind Earlham House, off Recreation Road, and at the front of the building. There is a two-hour limit for shoppers, with no return for two hours, and a permit system has been introduced for traders for Earlham House’s upper and lower car parks.

Green Party councillors for the area have added Bately Court is also offering spaces. Fines of £60 have been reported for people who have not complied with the new restrictions.

Andrew Boswell, Nelson ward Norfolk county councillor, added: “The most important thing is anything that will help the shops at this point – such as saying there is parking under the trees at Bately Court.”

Hackwood Homes is carrying out the work after it was appointed by Bellgold Properties.

David Heath, of Bellgold Properties, said the pressure on parking at Earlham House increased significantly after land to the rear of the site was closed off to parking.

He said: “A significant number of spaces at Earlham House have been used on a daily basis by people who are neither shoppers nor traders at Earlham House and this has been a problem for years.

“Norfolk Parking Enforcement has installed numerous signs across the site and all the traders have been spoken to individually to explain the restrictions and issued with their permits.”

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