Parking issues could lead to closure of Yarmouth Church
4:29 PM August 23, 2022
The future of a church in Great Yarmouth town center is in jeopardy as a year-long parking dispute continues.
Until May last year, many visitors to Christchurch on King Street could park in the forecourt of the building with a permit.
That month signs were put up in the grounds by Norfolk County Council stating that parking was prohibited on the curb or kerb.
Last July, Norfolk County Council said it planned to overturn the parking ban at the site.
However, Andy Ingram, property manager and caretaker in Christchurch, said he had heard “absolutely nothing” about the parking ban being lifted since that time and visitor numbers are declining.
“Last summer, we were told the county was waiting for news from traffic management, but still nothing,” he said.
“If we don’t get the parking lot back soon, the church could close.”
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said the delay in changing the traffic order around the church was part of a larger project to improve the existing car park in Great Yarmouth.
They added: “Work is currently underway to begin the required legal work.”
Mr Ingram said that while visitors are still affected by the lack of accessible parking, he is concerned that visitors to the church may be heading elsewhere.
He said the number of people attending Sunday service had halved over the past year. And before that, the number of a community group had dropped from 55 regular visitors to 12.
“We are a major community center in Great Yarmouth,” Mr Ingram said.
“If we continue to lose visitors to parking, we won’t be able to stay afloat, groups will move or close, and the people who volunteer with us won’t have anything to do with their time.”
Christchurch provides space for 18 weekly community groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous, University of the Third Age and Great Yarmouth Civic Society.
Hugh Sturzaker, president of the Civic Society, said the church was a community center in the city.
He said: “Many of the visitors are elderly, infirm and have difficulty walking, so it was ideal for them to park their vehicles in front of the building.
“This issue has gone on for far too long and unless it is urgently resolved, Christchurch will be closed.
“And it will be a great loss for the community.”