'Confusion' reigns on street as new 'pedestrian zone' signs appear
- Credit: Mark Hedge/ Sonya Duncan
A business owner is worried authorities are pre-empting the outcome of a controversial traffic ban consultation after signs appeared on a busy city street calling it a "pedestrian zone".
The signs appeared on St Benedicts Street in Norwich on Friday — and according to council officers the remaining pay and display machines will be removed on Monday for the avoidance of drivers' doubt over whether they can park there.
But Mark Hedge, one businessman staunchly against pedestrianisation, fears it is a stealth move from the council to make the traffic ban "permanent" — even though a final decision on the future of the street isn't supposed to made until January.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council dismissed the accusation.
He said: "The area has been a pedestrian zone since the temporary restriction came into effect last year.
"The additional signage is merely to reinforce the message of the road's current status to aid city council parking enforcement officers.
"Transport for Norwich Committee members will discuss the trial and latest consultation results when they convene in January.
"The report for that meeting is yet to be written, and no decisions over the street's long term future have been taken at present.
"These latest measures will provide further evidence of how things could work in practice.
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"Should the changes not be permanently instigated then the road will be returned to its previous arrangement."
Mr Hedge, who owns Cookes Band Instruments, said though he was happy the council was finally taking action to stop people illegally parking outside his shopfront for hours on end, he was concerned when he saw the new signs appear.
He feared lorry drivers would be confused over whether they could even access the street for deliveries — given the sign suggested there was to be no traffic at any time.
He added: "As of Friday afternoon, trucks were still coming down the street, the ticket machine was still working and only a few double yellow lines had been removed.
"I'd be surprised if anyone knows this is now a "pedestrianised" street.
"It's just going to cause even more confusion. It's chaos."