Car park used by market traders in rules breach

Bethel Hospital.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Bethel Hospital.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A city centre car park at the back of a former hospital is to close after doubts were raised over its legality. 

Norwich-based RCP Parking sought permission to confirm the lawfulness of the existing use of the Bethel Street car park.

Drivers parked on land at the rear of the former Bethel Hospital for years with market traders among the regular users. 

RCP operated the site as a public pay and display car park under their company name from mid-2017.

But the application was rejected by the city council after critics said the use of the car park breached planning control. 

Comments were submitted on the city council planning portal by trustees of the Bethel Trust, the freeholder of the land. 

One trustee commented: "A lease exists which controls the use of the land. The occupiers and tenants are in breach of the terms of that lease in several ways and our solicitors are acting accordingly.

"It does not allow the land to be used as a public car park.

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"The rights of the residential owners and occupiers who were legally afforded parking rights on the site are constantly being compromised by the inability to park." 

The application, submitted by Ingleton Wood on behalf of RCP, was refused by the city council on December 21. 

In its covering letter for the application, Ingleton Wood stated the car park had been used as far back as 1998. 

Nicol Perryman, associate planner for Ingleton Wood, wrote: "The existing use of the site as a public car park has been continuous over a period in excess of 10 years from the date of this application."

Among those sending letters for the application were Ann Smith, who has been working on a part-time basis at 64 Bethel Street since 2001.

She said: "This car park is so convenient for my work and now operates on a most professional basis." 

City trader Brendan Read added: "I have been working on Norwich Market for several years and I know many traders who have used Bethel Street car park on a day-to-day basis going as far back as the early 2000s.

Mike and Debs Read, and their sons, Brendan, left, and James at their family fruit and veg stall at

Brendan Read is pictured on the left on the family fruit and veg stall in Norwich Market - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

"The traders used this car park as it was very convenient and easy for them."