Anger over loading bay delay outside music shop

Mark Hedge, director, at the front of Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts street, where there sh

Mark Hedge, director, at the front of Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts street, where there should be a loading bay. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A businessman is frustrated over delays in a new loading bay being created outside his enterprise which would boost trade following major road changes to an independent hotspot.

Mark Hedge, director of Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts Street, said the Transport for Norwich joint committee - made up of Norfolk, Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland councillors - reported in a November meeting a bay would be marked out near the shop.

Cars were temporarily banned on the street since summer 2020 as part of the multi-million pound Connecting the Lanes project but that was made permanent this year with the exception of delivery access and loading.

During the Covid, restrictions barriers were put up outside restaurants to allow for al fresco dining and these have remained.

Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts street, where there should be a loading bay.

Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts street, where there should be a loading bay. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Hedge believed the bay was meant to be painted by the end of June but said council officials told him the delay was because of legal issues.

He said: "A loading bay would make a massive difference to our business. We sell heavy expensive products. People don't want to walk around with it.

"We have had to reinvent ourselves. We used to sell drum kits but don't now because they are too big.

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"People collect stuff they have purchased or we sell products on people's behalf of customers.

"It is incredible the council can manage to put railings up quickly but it takes forever for white lines to be painted for a bay."

Mark Hedge, director, at the front of Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts street, where there sh

Mark Hedge, director, at the front of Cookes Band Instruments in St Benedicts street, where there should be a loading bay. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Hedge, who joined the long-running firm three years ago, said it was important for Cookes to attract people into the shop because it was "easy to buy online from your sofa".

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “All projects within our Connecting the Lanes programme are designed to make it safer and easier to get around on foot or by bike, support outdoor hospitality, boost the local economy and improve air quality.

"The reduction in vehicles in St Benedicts Street has been largely supported since the scheme’s introduction.

"The status of legal orders and availability of site operatives and equipment has delayed any further changes to signing and lining but this has been programmed for installation in the coming weeks.”