Support for retailers along the London Road in Lynn was offered at Tuesday’s meeting of West Norfolk Council’s regeneration and development panel.
The panel was considering a progress report of the Southgates Masterplan, which maps out possible improvements to the area, including possibly diverting traffic around the South Gate itself.
Judith Collingham, chairwoman of the panel, said she had received a heartfelt letter from the owner of The Daily Grind coffee shop saying it feared a plan to end parking on the road would be disastrous for its business.
Mrs Collingham told councillors: “They are very concerned about the viability of their business if they lose the parking spaces.”
An officer told the panel there were no plans to change the present parking arrangements. “None of them are anywhere near being implemented,” she said.
However, local councillor Lesley Bambridge said she was still concerned.
She said: “There are eight retail outlets. one is a Pizza Hut takeaway, I can’t imagine how it could do its business without parking.
“The owner of the Daily Grid is very upset, of course … there is a Stop and Go grocery shop, the name says it all really.
“We can’t ruin these businesses. I would agree that the traffic needs to move quickly but not as fast as it does now. When I’m driving along there at 30mph there is always someone overtaking. It is a very very busy road.”
Mrs Bambridge said a fellow councillor had seen two inebriated people crossing the road as cars whizzed past and reminded members that an accident recently left the former Coggles building needing to be propped up until it can be rebuilt.
Councillors who spoke were cool on the prospect of the South Gate being closed to traffic and questioned the possibility of up to £500,000 being spent on outside consultants.
Alex Kemp said: “I have been approached by lots of people who want to see the South Gate used by traffic and by those worried about losing their parking spaces. We all need to support local shops.”
She said she would like to see the empty garage on the Southgates turned into something like a pop-up cafe in a bid to revitalise the area.
“There are a lot of grand plans that don’t seem to be very fruitful at the moment.”
Terry Parish said he was “quite taken back by the plan to stop using the South Gate”.
Ben Jones said it may be an idea to stop HGVs from going through it but cars should continue to use it. He thought the problem with the London Road was more to do with the traffic lights sequencing.
“It does not flow at all. That is something that can be solved at the click of the fingers and ti would be a hell of a lot better than it presently is.”
The panel decided to continue with work on the Masterplan. Richard Blunt, portfolio holder for regeneration and development at the council, said: “I accept we have a lot of work to do. I’ve heard what you have said and will discuss it with the officers. This is a key Masterplan. it is important we get it right.”
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