ANGRY traders today slammed a parking scheme they fear will drive potential customers away.
Some businesses on Whitegate Drive say they are already considering relocating because residents-only permits will leave nowhere for their staff or clients to park.
Blackpool Council has agreed to introduce restrictions on 20 streets between Park Road and Stanley Park in response to a request from residents, at a cost of £100,000.
Developments including the construction of the Primary Care Health Centre and the expansion of the Palatine Road campus of Blackpool and The Fylde College have been blamed for an increase in people parking in nearby streets.
Parking on Whitegate Drive itself will be unrestricted, but is expected to be taken up by long-stay parking with workers likely to leave their vehicles all day.
Businesses are calling for the scheme to allow short-stay parking for non-residents on the side streets so they can still access businesses and services. Such a scheme already operates on roads including Leamington Road at the north end of Whitegate Drive.
Mark Ghee, of Blackpool Physiotherapy Centre, said: “Many of our clients have mobility problems and if they cannot park nearby than we are just going to have to relocate and I’m already looking for new premises.
“The parking changes as they stand will cause a high impact on the businesses on Whitegate Drive, and I’m certain the resulting effect will be a decline of the area with empty run down commercial units and a rise in crime and social problems that are associated with such a decline.”
Paul Martin, of Motaspares, said he was also considering relocating.
He said: “If customers can’t park outside your shop, then they move onto the next business where they can. So if this impacts on me, I’ll have no choice but to relocate out of town.”
Stuart Fitton, of Richard James Lighting, said: “If people see they can’t park here without a permit, they will just drive past. It’s going to be difficult for all the shops here.”
Philip Hough, who owns Subway on Whitegate Drive, said: “This isn’t just a residential area, it’s commercial as well. But the council hasn’t really thought about the businesses who all pay rates.”
The scheme has also been criticised by former Blackpool police chief Alan Rydeheard, whose home is on the corner of Kenwyn Avenue.
He has warned it will “paralyse” the area.
The council said it could consider introducing time-restricted parking on Whitegate Drive in the future, but there were obstacles to introducing limited waiting on the side streets for non-residents.
John Donnellon, Blackpool Council’s assistant director for regeneration and infrastructure, said: “The residents parking scheme in the area is only being introduced following lengthy consultation with everyone in the area.
“We believe the scheme will provide the best solution for all but we will keep it under review to make sure all local interests are being catered for.”