Parking permit anger at Norwich shops

Traders in a Norwich shopping precinct have expressed their anger at changes to parking permit charges which they say could hit their businesses.

The changes imposed by Norwich City Council affect shops in Suffolk Square, off Vauxhall Street.

Until now businesses have enjoyed free parking in the precinct's car park but from next year will be forced to pay �100 per year for a permit.

Shop owners in the area say the changes are unfair, especially at a time when trade has dropped due to the economic climate.

Malcolm Wright, sub-postmaster at the Vauxhall Street post office, said he and his staff require three parking spaces, meaning he would be forced to stump up �300 per year.

He added: 'For as long as I can remember there's been an agreement that we can park here for free. This was done on the basis that it was in everybody's interests for traders and their staff to be able to park and for the shops to be able to thrive.

'To go from paying nothing to paying �100 a year is a massive leap and it's made us all very angry.

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'My business has been good over Christmas but business generally is suffering and this is just yet another cost that we could do without.'

In a letter sent to all businesses in the area, Jon Pederson from City Hall, says that the council has reviewed the use of car parks which it owns as part of its housing stock.

He adds: 'The council has been reviewing the use of car parks that it owns as part of its housing stock.

'These car parks are maintained by money from the housing revenue account which is funded from rents and charges paid by council tenants and leaseholders.

'It has recently been brought to our attention that there have been some free permits issues to businesses, such as yours, under an informal arrangement which has not been documented.

'Some of these car parks are also available for use by local businesses, at a cost of �100 per permit, per year towards the cost of management and maintenance.

'This means there is currently a situation where some businesses pay for their parking and some do not.

'In order to ensure charging policies are consistently applied, any permits you currently have cannot be renewed free of charge when they next expire.

'I appreciate that the application of this charge will not be welcomed, but I hope you understand why it is being applied.'