Wednesday, 31 December 1997

Letter to the Highways Department

With reference to your front page article about the Highways Department and their clampdown on the outdoor displays in Cromer, I myself have had recent experience of how petty they can be, and some might say, incompetent.

I work at the Garden Centre in Overstrand, and earlier this year we had to take down our roadside signs at the request of the Highways Department. This was because the gentleman next door to us sold plants on several roadside tables, and the Highways Department had received several complaints about this. Don't get me wrong - this was in no way damaging to our business, but it was annoying when his customers took our valuable car parking places during our busy period, and they caused several road obstructions.

So the deal was that we removed our signs, which had received no complaints, and this gentleman removed his tables, which had received several. He did this, but about a week later, the tables returned. We made a complaint to the Highways Department ourselves, but nothing seemed to happen. When we said that we would be putting our signs back, we were threatened with prosecution. Even now, months after the event, the gentleman continues to ply his trade from his roadside tables, taking our parking spaces, leaving rubbish outside his house, and causing road obstructions.

Basically what I'm trying to say here is that the Highways Department are harrassing traders who cause no harm to anyone, but are apparently doing nothing about those people who do. Is this what our Council Taxes and business rates paying for?