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  1. Extra £400k expected for town centre regenerationpublished at 07:02 5 December

    Market Place in North WalshamImage source, Andy Trigg/BBC
    Image caption,

    Contractors started digging up North Walsham's Market Place earlier in the autumn

    A council is expected to allocate an extra £400,000 to a town regeneration scheme that has been heavily criticised by local businesses.

    Contractors started digging up Market Place in North Walsham earlier in the autumn.

    The project, already costed at £1.3m, will ban general traffic from the town centre during the day, will widen pathways, external and will install new bike racks.

    North Norfolk District Council said the extra cash was needed because of the rising cost of fuel, labour and materials.

    Ian Jackson, who owns Sam's Pets in North WalshamImage source, Andy Trigg/BBC
    Image caption,

    Shop owner Ian Jackson said his deliveries were sky-high

    A council spokesman said: “The once in a lifetime investment in North Walsham’s historic centre is key to delivering vibrant and energised spaces, which have been designed specifically for markets and events to take place, increasing customer footfall and business opportunities."

    The scheme will also install new crossings, seating and street planters.

    The council's Liberal Democrat cabinet is recommended to approve the extra funding at a meeting, external on Monday.

    The designs were first drawn up three years ago.

    Isaac Crass, manager of Express Printing and Stationary in North WalshamImage source, Andy Trigg/BBC
    Image caption,

    Isaac Crass, manager of Express Printing and Stationery, said his sales had dropped after roadworks started in the town

    Colin Page, who has owned CD Page confectioners at Market Place for 21 years, said the scheme "goes against the character of the town".

    "I think it was completely unnecessary from the start and I don't think it will achieve anything at all," he said.

    "This is a pop-in town.

    "People like to be able to pull in and out, park up, do their shopping and go away again."

    Shambles café bar in Market Place, North WalshamImage source, Patricia Payne/Historic England
    Image caption,

    Historic England says North Walsham is home to more than 100 listed buildings

    Ian Jackson, who owns Sam's Pets nearby, said his deliveries were sky-high because people did not want to drive into the town during the construction.

    Isaac Crass, manager at Express Printing and Stationery, said his sales dropped by about 50% after the market was closed off.

    The council spokesman added: "This project has always been about increasing footfall and trade and providing new attractive places to visit, stay and shop."

    North Walsham, which has its own Heritage Action Zone, has more than 100 listed buildings, external which mostly date from the 18th and early 19th centuries.

    Much of the town was rebuilt after its Great Fire of 1600.

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