Angry traders on a busy Blackpool road today told of fears new double yellow lines could put some of them out of business.
Business chiefs in the Waterloo Road area of South Shore say they had no idea the council planned to bring in new parking restrictions which have been put down over the past couple of weeks.
They say the lines mean elderly parishioners at Holy Cross CE Church cannot get to services easily, visitors to the Hope Residential Care Home cannot park close by and customers to local businesses have nowhere to leave their cars.
Today council chiefs said the lines had been put down for “road safety” reasons and added there are three car parks – Central Beach, on Seasiders Way, Lonsdale Road and South, on Yeadon Way – within walking distance.
But that has sparked concerns from firms that the council has only put the lines down to make more money.
Susan Owen, treasurer at Holy Cross said: “We honestly did not know this was going to happen. The majority of our congregation in over 60 and we have one lady who is 90. They find it hard to walk far so this is really difficult for them. The numbers at our last service were down. Normally we have over 50 but last time there were just 18. We would really like the council to take these lines away.”
Gary Bell, one of the church wardens, said: “There have been double yellow lines at the junction with Central Drive, but they have now extended them past the vicarage. Why did they have to change things now?”
Jeremy Smith from Karl Smith Car Sales said his customers have been left with nowhere to park and he is worried it will hurt business.
He said: “I have been here for 16 years and have never heard of an accident and I haven’t heard of any parking issues because this is a commercial area.
“I don’t understand why they have done this at all. There is an ambulance station 200 yards to my left but there has never been any problems there as far as I know. We pay £14,000 in business rates to the council but now they are doing this to us.”
Mr Smith said the yellow lines would force people to use the pay and display car park on Yeadon Way.
He added: “The only ones who are going to benefit from this is the council.”
Dil Gurung, owner of the Ghurkha Nepalese and Indian take-away said although there are some car parks in the area, not having convenient parking would hit his customers.
He said: “They like to park close by because they want their food hot. It is difficult for them to find the car parks and we will lose business.
“I just think we don’t need the lines there are no safety problems with our road.”
Cheryl Swarbrick from Charlie Girl hair salon said: “This will put passing trade off coming into the area. They say there are car parks not too far away but no-one want to have to walk 10 minutes in the wind and rain when they have just paid to have their hair done. And customers don’t want to have to pay for a car park ticket as well as paying for their hair to be done.”
Cheryl’s daughter, Alicia, who also works at the salon said: “It’s a joke. They (the council) just get too much money off everyone.
“It’s not fair when we are genuine people who come to work and they are charging us extra for it.”
Tracey Hope from the Hope residential Care Home said: “Many of our visitors are quite elderly and infirm themselves and so they just can’t park in one of the car parks and walk all the way here. We were supposed to have a visit from a physiotherapist for one of our ladies but they could not find anywhere to park and the session had to be cancelled until next week. These are very important visits and it can take six weeks to get them, so we are very concerned.
“The nearest public car park is probably Central Drive car park and that’s not free, you have to pay and display. It’s absolutely ridiculous and it’s frustrating that people are having to part with their money to come here.
“What’s really concerning me is that we’re having 80 and 90 year olds who are having to walk to visit their loves ones.”
Blackpool Council gave notice of a series of new no waiting zones, including Waterloo Road, in June.
The new double yellow lines, from Central Drive to Saville Road on the north side of the street and from St Anne’s Road to Hall Avenue on the other side, are in addition to existing restrictions.
Double yellow lines were already in place in front of the ambulance station, while a bus stop prevents parking in front of the car dealership.
The new lines mean around another 150m of the road is now out of bounds to motorists looking for a parking space, with several side roads covered by double yellow lines or residents only parking spaces.
The council said despite advertising its plans in The Gazette and on lamp posts in the area, no representations were received from members of the public during the three-week consultation period.
But residents and visitors to the area are also concerned by the new restrictions.
Blackpool resident Alan Rowicki said the yellow lines would affect visitors to the area.
Mr Rowicki, 62, from South Shore said: “Everyone has issues with double yellow lines - they’re what has killed this town.
“There is no need for them along here.
“The council should be encouraging more people to come here.”
Andrew Bamford, 41, of Lytham Road, added: “You can’t park on the road, and you need parking permits to park everywhere else. It’s chaos.”
But Hilary Hartley, 55, of Rawcliffe Street, said she could see the benefits to the yellow lines for disabled people living nearby.
She said: “I have a disabled friend who lives on Waterloo Road and she has been unable to get out to the doctors in her wheelchair because people have parked outside her house and on dropped curbs, meaning she can’t get onto the road.
“I am pleased the council has done this.”
Mobility scooter user Jean Bartram, 57, of Erdington Road added: “My friend was nearly knocked over trying to get into the road between two cars. There are too many vehicles parking on the side of the road, I would welcome more regulation.”
John Jones, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “While some free parking is available on this stretch of Waterloo Road, yellow lines in are in place in the area in question for road safety reasons.
“This is because the area is in the middle of two major road junctions and removing yellow lines on corners or the approaches to the junction would restrict drivers’ line of sight and cause delays.
“Within the block just to the south of this business (between Bloomfield Road, Central Drive, Waterloo Road and Lytham Road) there are three major, sizeable public car parks within walking distance of Waterloo Road.
“That said, I am always happy to talk to businesses and try to help wherever I can and I would be very happy to do so in this instance.”
When asked what had prompted concerns over road safety in the area, the council said an independent assessment carried out as part of the community lighting partnership work - which has involved changes to traffic signals across Blackpool - suggested the need for the extra yellow lines because of problems with drivers’ sightlines.
Coun Jones has already been in contact with the church and others in the area to discuss meeting them about the yellow lines issue.