TRADERS have welcomed the removal of 15 minute parking restrictions which they claimed had been bad for business.
The saga has taken nearly a year to resolve but Worcestershire County Councils have replaced the signs on Newtown Road, near Link Top, meaning customers can now park for an hour.
When the original signs enforcing the quarter-of-an-hour limit, appeared last October and the district council announced it would be enforcing restrictions the following month, traders feared many would be put off shopping in Newtown Road, and businesses such as the clothes shop and hairdressers would suffer in particular.
Hundreds of people signed a petition within a week to highlight the concerns and the county council agreed to look into the matter, but warned any changes would take longer than six months to come into place.
Traders said the district council’s civil enforcement team even struck an informal agreement with them not to impose the 15 minute limit during the period. But despite no-one been fined some still feel business has been affected because customers have been put off staying.
Alison Fish of David G Fish Flooring, said: “Although the council kept their unofficial promise not to enforce the fifteen minute restriction, people saw the signs, decided it didn’t give them long enough and went elsewhere, and who can blame them? You are not going to risk a £40 fine when you can go somewhere else and park for longer.”
Allan Smith, from Aspect Design, added the saga was the latest battle traders had endured with the local authorities after the district council introduced parking charges on the nearby free car parks in 2001 and the county council proposed to put yellow lines on Newtown Road in 2010.
He said: “In each case they climbed down and reversed their plans but I dread to think what all this has cost council tax payers.
Allan added: “Although we are obviously grateful that the council has seen fit to change the restriction to something more sensible, the situation could have been easily avoided with a little prior consultation.”
But generally traders are upbeat now customers have an hour’s free parking on the street.
Sam Lupino from clothes store F.L. Cox, said: “We were delighted that so many people signed the petition and genuinely supported our appeal to increase the parking limit but it was made very clear by the council that it would take time. We are pleased that the signs have been replaced and an acceptable parking time has been implemented which will benefit the shopping area as a whole.”