People can 'park for free all day every day' as wardens 'ignore' street

St Benedicts will continue to have outside dining areas down the street.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

St Benedicts Street is being blighted by illegal parking - though one businessman says the council is turning a blind eye to it - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The "total absence" of traffic wardens on one busy Norwich street means cars can park there all day every day without repercussion, according to one infuriated businessman.

Mark Hedge, owner of Cookes Band Instruments on St Benedicts Street in Norwich city centre, has been religiously documenting the scale of illegal parking outside his shop for months in a desperate bid to get the council to take action.

During the pandemic, Norwich City Council added hospitality buildouts but removed the parking metres and designated parking spaces along the street and turned it into a "loading only" zone for business deliveries.

But according to Mr Hedge, the traffic wardens needed to enforce this new system have been wholly absent — and he now has drivers parked up outside his door for hours on end without so much as getting a single parking ticket.

Between the buildouts and illegally parked cars, lorries and delivery trucks have no room for manoeuvre, with Mr Hedge terming the situation "traffic chaos".

Mark Hedge said one car sat outside his shop for the entirety of Saturday, without so much as a ticket from the city council

Mark Hedge said one car sat outside his shop for the entirety of Saturday, without so much as a ticket from the city council - Credit: Mark Hedge

On Saturday, the shop owner saw a white Audi parked up on the "loading only" street from 9am until at least 5pm, when he headed home for the day.

During that time, he didn't see a single city traffic warden challenging the illegal parking or move the car on.

The council was approached for comment, but did not provide an answer as to why it is letting this happen.

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Mr Hedge explained: "The council is totally ignoring retailers. The traffic wardens are totally absent.

"I've lost count of how many times I've emailed the council to ask for them to send someone. Probably about 50 or 60 times.

"I think in order to make the street safe the council needs to reverse the buildouts temporarily. They should unbolt them, and return them next spring.

Lorry and Mark Hedge inset, on St Benedicts Street

Mark Hedge, owner of Cookes Band Instruments, says lorries having to park far away from their destination is becoming an increasing occurrence on St Benedicts Street - Credit: Mark Hedge/ Danielle Booden

"Due to the railings outside Farmyard it's impossible for a car to park outside our shop door. If cars like this Audi are parked on the road it's far more challenging for us to et heavy items to and from customer's vehicles.

"I'm worried businesses will end up leaving the street.

"It's businesses which make St Benedicts Street inviting. Footfall is dependent on BOTH hospitality and retail."