‘Now I can sleep at night’: Businesses’ joy at city centre car ban

Hannah Springham of The Farmyard (inset) has welcomed the news that St Benedicts Street will tempora

Hannah Springham of The Farmyard (inset) has welcomed the news that St Benedicts Street will temporarily ban cars. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Independent businesses in the city centre have welcomed the news that the council have temporarily banned cars on their streets.

Small businesses along St Benedicts Street and Exchange Street have been lobbying Norfolk County Council to pedestrianise their roads so that they can place outside seating and increase much-needed covers to their sites.

The news comes after a petition, which has been signed by thousands of people, was launched by a business owner on St Benedicts Street.

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Hannah Springham, who owns the Farmyard restaurant alongside partner Andrew, launched the petition and said today’s news was a “game changer”.

She said: “I finally feel like I can sleep at night, and it’ll be a similar story for a lot of other business owners on St Benedicts. Because of social distancing it would be really difficult for a lot of businesses in smaller sites to reopen – even with the one metre plus rule in place instead of two metres. This will be a game changer for them.

“I think that this bodes really well for the future of Norwich. I think that the future of cities in general will see a reduction in cars so this is a good test run to potentially make it permanent in the future.

“Norwich has always had a more European feel and this will add to it. It’ll be so lovely for people to wander down the street, get their hair done and then sit outside in the sunshine. It’s an absolute gift.”

Full plans for the pedestrianisation of the street have not yet been released by the council.

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“It’ll help people feel much safer as well if they sit outside – and that’s all anyone wants at the moment. They can still enjoy their meal and going out, but feel safer because they’re outside,” she said.

Businesses will now be able to apply for licenses to put tables onto the road, which will be put in place from July 3.

Boris Johnson announced this week that pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen from July 4 with many eateries across the city announcing their intention to reopen that weekend.