Tarmac slapped on historic city high street branded 'cheap, lazy eyesore'

Traders said the tarmacking, supposedly temporary, is an "eyesore" and does not fit in with St Augustines' historic nature

Businesses have said that the tarmacking, supposedly temporary, is an "eyesore" and does not fit in with the historic nature of St Augustines - Credit: Supplied

Temporary tarmacking of a beloved high street has been bashed by business owners who say it has ruined the eclectic feel of the road. 

Workmen descended on St Augustines Street on Tuesday last week, tearing up the tile-lined pavement outside Easton Pottery only to replace it with a patch of black tarmac.

Mikey Smith, owner of nearby Little Green Smiths said that the county council's choice to "slap down the tarmac" was a "quick solution".

Mikey Smith at Little Smiths on St Augustines in Norwich.Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

Mikey Smith at Little Smiths on St Augustines in Norwich. Picture: Neil Perry / Archant

He said: "It definitely affects the look of the street.

"Tarmac and Little Green Smiths don't go hand in hand. It doesn't have any charm about it.

"I feel like this street gets overlooked. But the customers love it and want to see it thrive.

Husband and fellow businessman, Lewis Smith, added: "If people see a sign saying that tarmacking is in process or a footpath is closed, they will go away from the shops completely."

Lewis Smith at his plant shop Green Smiths in St Augustines Street Picture: Supplied

Lewis Smith at his plant shop Green Smiths in St Augustines Street Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

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Dan Jobey of neighbouring Norwich Screen Art is worried the tarmac is a more permanent, rather than temporary, fixture.

He said: "I can't un-see it. It's a bit of an eyesore.

"The flagstones are much nicer.

Dan 'Jobey' Jobey and Jo Edye of Norwich Screen Art in St Augustines Street, Norwich

Dan 'Jobey' Jobey and Jo Edye of Norwich Screen Art in St Augustines Street, Norwich - Credit: Dan Jobey

"There are so many beautiful buildings here. I feel that the tarmac is a lazy, cheap option. It wouldn't take much to relay or put new flagstones down. 

"The cheapest option isn't always the best way.

"People like how Norwich has lots of independent and artisan businesses.

"Our vibe - even our studio - is in-keeping with the environment around it."

Tarmac now replaces the flagstones that line St Augustines Street in Norwich

Tarmac now replaces the flagstones that line St Augustines Street in Norwich - Credit: Supplied

Andy Ellis, highways area manager at Norfolk County Council said: “A number of damaged and unstable paving slabs were identified during a routine inspection.

"It was necessary to apply a temporary asphalt surface to keep the pavement safe to use and accessible to all users.

“Reinstating the paving is part of our future planning but we need to prioritise other work where safety and access are at risk, so the work currently has no firm date.

Tarmac now replaces the flagstones that line St Augustines Street in Norwich

The tarmac work has been branded an 'eyesore' by business owners in St Augustines Street - Credit: Supplied

"We acknowledge that the interim solution might not be residents’ preferred option and the work may have caused some disruption.

"We hope they understand our priority is, first and foremost, to keep roads and pavements in working order.”