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Parking issues could lead to closure of Great Yarmouth church

24/08/2022
James Weeds reports

 
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Andy Ingram, property manager and caretaker at Christchurch in Great Yarmouth, fears the church may close down as visitor numbers decrease due to the lack of accessible parking. - Credit: James Weeds
 


 
The future of a church in Great Yarmouth town centre is in jeopardy as a year-long parking dispute continues
 
Until May last year, many visitors of Christchurch on King Street could park on the building's forecourt with a permit
 
That month, signs were put up on the land by Norfolk County Council stating that parking was banned on the verge or footway 

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In May 2021, signs banning parking appeared on the forecourt outside Christchurch in Great Yarmouth - Credit: Daniel Hickey
 


 
Last July, Norfolk County Council said it had plans to reverse the parking ban at the site
 
However, Andy Ingram, property manager and caretaker at Christchurch, said he had heard "absolutely nothing" about the reversal of the parking ban since that time and visitor numbers are dwindling
 
"Last summer, we were told County were waiting to hear from traffic management, but still nothing" he said
 

"If we don't get the parking back soon, the church could shut down"

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Andy Ingram said he felt as if he had been "banging his head against the wall" while the parking ban in front of Christchurch is still to be reversed. - Credit: James Weeds
 


 
A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said the delay to the change of traffic order around the church is part of a larger project to improve the existing parking in Great Yarmouth
 
They added: "Work is currently underway to begin the legal work required”
 
Mr Ingram said while visitors are still being affected by the lack of accessible parking, he fears the church's visitors will go to groups elsewhere
 
He said the number of people attending the Sunday service had halved over the past year. And previously, one community group's numbers had diminished from 55 regular visitors to 12

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Christchurch in Great Yarmouth is home to the Great Yarmouth Civic Society, Alcoholics Anonymous, East Norfolk Transport Users Association and at least 15 other groups. - Credit: James Weeds
 


 
"We are a major community hub in Great Yarmouth" Mr Ingram said
 
"If we continue to lose visitors because of the parking, we won't be able to stay afloat, groups will move elsewhere, or close, and the people who volunteer with us won't have anything to do to fill their time"
 
Christchurch provides space for 18 weekly community groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous, University of the Third Age and the Great Yarmouth Civic Society

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Retired consultant surgeon Hugh Sturzaker, chair of the Great Yarmouth Civic Society. - Credit: James Bass
 


 
Hugh Sturzaker, chair of the Civic Society, echoed the church was a community hub in the town
 
He said: "Many of the visitors are elderly, infirm and have difficulty walking, so it used to be ideal for them to park their vehicles in front of the building
 
"This problem has been going on for far too long and, unless it is resolved urgently, Christchurch will be closed
 
"And that will be a great loss to the community”
 
This article first appeared on the Great Yarmouth Mercury website
 


 

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