Norwich Road from Barrack Corner to the site of The Rose and Crown is one of the most vibrant multicultural streets in the town; it has a destination shop, car parking and retail units. However, there are some problems that need to be addressed to improve the perception of those who don't know the area well and so encourage them to visit and use the shops, cafés and restaurants.

To that end, local business people, community leaders and Westgate Ward Councillors have met and agreed to some changes. These will be funded by the Borough Council and some central government money.

The plans include the renaming of South Street car park to “Norwich Road Shoppers Car Park”, making the car park better known by prominent signage from Norwich Road. Two spaces will be allocated for 15 minute free parking; the concept is to persuade drivers not to stop in Norwich Road “just to pick up….”

There will be a physical transformation by cleaning up shop fronts and gable ends, installing artworks, “totem” poles and signage to proclaim the “Norwich Road IP1” zone. Additionally, consultation is already taking place with businesses regarding marketing, a website for the area, business support and development. The goal is to have a vibrant business community that leads to an enhanced physical area with better cultural integration.

Members will be keen to support such efforts to improve the visual and retail appeal of this street and will look forward to further announcements.

Mike Cook