Restaurateur hits out at council as pedestrianisation petition reaches 1400

Hannah Springham of The Farmyard (inset) wants to see St Benedicts Street ban cars, but say the coun

Hannah Springham of The Farmyard (inset) wants to see St Benedicts Street ban cars, but say the council have been too slow to react. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Restaurant owners bidding to pedestrianise their city centre street have said they are disappointed and frustrated by the lack of council support.

Business managers along St Benedicts launched an appeal to temporarily ban cars on the street when they reopen to allow for tables and chairs outside.

The charge has been lead by Hannah Springham, owner of Farmyard, who said that increasing covers outside could make the difference in the survival of many businesses.

MORE: ‘We are truly devastated’: Restaurant will not reopen after lockdownShe said: “We haven’t had a single email back from Norfolk County Council and time is running out. I appreciate they’ll be very busy but surely this is the sort of thing they should be looking at?”

Norfolk County Council said its “first priority has been to make the city centre safe for shops to reopen on June 15 and we have been working closely with the city council and Norwich BID (Business Improvement District) to achieve this.”

Ms Springham has created an online petition to gather support, which now has more than 1,400 signatures.

“We’ve had councillors and MPs getting in touch asking how they can support and get involved,” she said. “Overall the feedback has been positive because I think even the people who want to be able to drive and pull up at businesses on the street understand that without this they may not have anywhere to pull up to. No one wants to see an empty street.”

She added: “Time is running out. Even if we get the go-ahead to do this we still have to apply for licenses to put tables and chairs outside, which can take weeks to come through. On top of that we have to order and purchase all of that to potentially reopen in a month. I’m worried.”

MORE: Date hairdressers and barbers set to reopen revealedA spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council added: “We are currently reviewing a number of requests for temporary covid-19 measures from across the county. No decisions have been made at present but we anticipate implementing a number of quick-win, temporary solutions in the coming weeks, all of which will be focussed on aiding physical-distancing.

“We are currently awaiting further guidance from central government on funding for a range of further measures and are working closely with all partners to ensure the city centre is a safe environment for both leisure and retail.”

To sign the petition visit ‘Pedestrianise St Benedicts St, Norwich’ at Change.Org.