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Diss parking review petition hits 400 signatures

Rachel Bettison, of the Half Moon Salon and Alison Ellis of Copydiss are pictured with Sanda Igescu, of Sanda's, Philippa Kemp-Welch and Rosie Aldous
Rachel Bettison, of the Half Moon Salon and Alison Ellis of Copydiss are pictured with Sanda Igescu, of Sanda's, Philippa Kemp-Welch and Rosie Aldous

A petition urging South Norfolk Council to open up a town centre car park in Diss for long-stay has hit 400 signatures.

The petition has been started by Alison Ellis, of Copydiss, who said she is fed up of having nowhere to park and the daily complaints she gets from customers, who have the same trouble.

Sanda’s Truly Scrumptious Food, VAE hairdressers, Crackers and Chaps hairdressers, Albright’s craft shop and the Half Moon salon have all backed the call to make Weavers Court car park, near the Saracens Head pub, available for long stay.

They have all placed the petition, along with Beactive Mobility and The Junction hair studio, in their shop, as has the Each charity chop, at the opposite end of town.

Mrs Ellis, who also attended last night's town council infrastructure committee, said earlier: “Unless I get to work at 8.30am, I can’t find a space in a long-stay car park.

“Since the parking review and changes in 2017, there has been nothing but complaints from both shopkeepers and customers, and this is the worst it has ever been.

“I have visited all the car parks counting spaces and, on average, there are always around 20 to 24 free spaces in Weaver’s Court, which could be used.

“The two designated long-stay car parks, including the heritage triangle site, are always full, making it difficult for staff and people wanting to shop.”

The current parking arrangements were established in March 2017 by South Norfolk Council following a review.

The long-stay car parks are in Shelfanger Road (13 spaces), the heritage triangle (86 spaces), Church Street (11 spaces) and Park Road (69 spaces).

Cllr Julian Mason said that Weavers Court had been designated a short-stay park to encourage a flow of traffic, near to the shops.

Council leader and Mayor, Trevor Wenman, said he felt it was not appropriate for the infrastructure committee to take sides.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Simon Olander said: "The district council doesn't seem to be listening. These people are having their livelihoods threatened.

"It wasn't like this before the change.We have had people complaining about the car parks ever since they changed it. They have to reflect on this.

"There is no provision for short stay at the north end of St Nicholas Street. They need a turn over of customers too."

Town clerk, Sarah Richards, said that she has since learnt that south Norfolk has earmarked Weavers Court for an electric car charging point, which may make converting it to long stay difficult, but another smaller car park, could be an option.

Committee chair, Simon Olander said the council would liaise with the district council over parking.

Sanda Igesco, who runs Sanda’s Truly Scrumptious Food, said: “We have nowhere to park our van, so we have to leave it in Roydon.

"One day, I called south Norfolk council and they suggested I walk to work. I live in Thetford.”

South Norfolk Councillor, Graham Minshull, said: “We carried out a review of our car parks in Diss at the request of both residents and businesses.

"They asked us to carry our the review as people coming into Diss were complaining that they couldn’t find a parking place near the shops and as a result were choosing to shop elsewhere.

“The review showed that indeed the car parks nearest the shops were being used by people parking all day, blocking spaces and preventing people who wanted to shop from being able to park.

“You can park for up four hours in our short stay car parks and the first hour is free and all businesses have twenty minutes to unload when needed.

"The car parks near the shops are for customers and being short stay encourages turn-over of spaces making it easier for people to park and spend their money in Diss.”

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