Market Place planters moved in compromise after protests

Reepham Town Council has made arrangements to move the planters just four days after they appeared in the Market Place, following a backlash of criticism from residents and traders.

Photo: Motts Pharmacy/Facebook

The planters have now been moved to the middle of the central reservations, taking up fewer parking spaces.
They were originally installed as the result of a Broadland District Council initiative to encourage shopping in Reepham by creating safe spaces for shoppers to observe social distancing while queueing to enter some town centre shops.
The planters are part of Broadland’s Shop with Confidence initiative, which included the installation of hand-sanitising units, social distancing signage and the reopening of the public toilets in Pudding Pie Alley.
The town council pointed out that the proposal was approved in early June, when the local economy was still fragile and many shoppers still hesitant about venturing out.
It was agreed that the use of planters would “probably offer the best option to the town both aesthetically, as they would be planted with shrubs and annuals, which it was hoped would enhance the Market Place, and by providing semi-permanent barriers to protect pedestrians from vehicles”.
Town council chairman Les Paterson said the decision was taken “with the understanding that businesses had been fully consulted by Broadland District Council and that the measures proposed would benefit the community and its visitors.
“It is unfortunate that it has taken three months for these planters to arrive and many people feel they are now obsolete.
“Broadland District Council and the town council have a responsibility to ensure the safety of residents and visitors for the duration of this pandemic.
“They recognise and fully appreciate the efforts of both businesses and the community to ensure that Reepham is a safe place to visit.”
But following protests and after discussions with traders, town councillors decided to act quickly to put a stop to the negative comments and, as an interim measure, have restored most of the parking spaces, which they recognised was the main concern of residents.
The town council said it will fully review the situation and make a decision about the future of the planters at its next meeting, which is now scheduled for 17 September, probably by videoconference.
Both the district and town councils admitted there has been a degree of miscommunication about the planters.
Meanwhile, local resident Hugh Ivins has set up an online petition, asking Broadland District Council to remove the planters from Reepham Market Place.
He argued that the planters are detrimental to the local shops and were installed to encourage social distancing, which has been successfully adhered to, without them, for the past five months.
Mr Ivins pointed out that when the shops close, eateries such as the Kings Arms and the Dial House “need all the parking they can get in the evenings”.
See our earlier story:


Residents protesting against the installation of the planters in the Market Place just before they were moved on Tuesday 25 August. Photo: Charles Butcher

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