Businesses left frustrated as road closure leads to reduced trade
- Credit: Archant
Businesses have become frustrated after a road closure to aid social distancing has reduced footfall in the town.
Norwich Street in Fakenham was closed on July 6 in support of North Norfolk District Council’s You Are Welcome campaign.
The initiative introduced social distancing measures by closing the street from Monday to Saturday, from 8.30am to 4.30pm and is under constant review.
Janis Greenawa is owner of The Larder, a food shop in the town, which stayed open during the lockdown.
As other shops reopened on June 15, her business was starting to pick up again. But, as Norwich Street was closed she noticed a concerning drop in trade.
“Since the lockdown trade hasn’t been the same. People told me that they saw the road closed and went to Wells.
“I thought the council is meant to be helping businesses and bringing people into the town.”
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Mrs Greenaway who took over the shop in 2016 said: “I know it’s a balancing act but it is important to keep businesses afloat especially in these times.”
Mrs Greenaway added that she wasn’t consulted by the council about the road closure.
A spokesperson for North Norfolk District Council said: “Norwich Street is narrow and not conducive to managing safe queuing outside of business premises and pedestrian movement without people having to walk in the road.
“We understand that there has been an increase in footfall in recent days with the car parks full and lots of people walking around town including Norwich Street.”
Another business on the road is Secrets, a clothing boutique owned by Sheenah Alexander-Parsby.
Mrs Alexander-Parsby has owned the shop on Norwich Street for the last 12 years and said that when she returned from lockdown her trade was “brilliant”.
But the road closure “has killed trade off, and has quieted the street down.”
She echoed concerned by Mrs Greenaway that the road closure has stopped passing trade.
“The daytrippers and holidaymakers are not passing the shop. They are not getting the chance to drive past the shops and look through the window”, she said.
“At this time of year we rely on that little extra footfall, it’s just like the cream on top.”