Action taken in Bridge Street after firms complain about parking bay suspensions

Action has been taken in Bridge Street after businesses complained that a temporary suspension of parking bays was damaging their custom.

Clothes shop Goyals, fish and chip store The Chippy, and Platinum Dry Cleaners said that their customer numbers had been affected because they were not able to park nearby.

It came as the Strawberry Grove cafe, and Emanuela’s restaurant, agreed with the council to suspend parking bays outside their businesses until June 21 to allow for al fresco outdoor dining.

The Royal Borough has said that it has now come to a ‘resolution’ which helps all of the businesses, with two additional parking spaces freed up outside The Chippy and Goyals.

Last week, Emanuela’s owner Piero Mingolla told the Advertiser the initial move had ‘helped us on our path to recovery’.

Hospitality venues have been unable to trade inside due to coronavirus but will be allowed to reopen indoors from Monday.

But the trio of business owners raised concerns about the level of consultation undertaken before work started, and questioned how frequently the space was used by diners.

“I have four properties on the road and we have seen that everybody has been affected,” said Seema Goyal, owner of Goyals.

Daisy Vij, owner of Platinum, added that her customers like to ‘quickly park outside and run in’, while Ashiq Ali, owner of The Chippy, said that his takings had been down about £800 since the change was made.

Piero said that he thought due process had been followed when the original decision was made.

“The last thing I want is unhappy neighbours, we have got a nice community here,” he said.

“I did what I could to try and bring money in and follow the process in order to give us the best opportunity to stay open.”

Stuart Downs, co-owner of Strawberry Grove, said that he had offered to free up parking spaces outside his business while he is shut.

He added that he was confident a suitable agreement had been reached between all parties.

“I think we are in agreement that this gives us what we want, and what they want as well,” Stuart said.

“Hopefully we are going to get together and work on some proposals to see what we can do to re-energise Bridge Street. We think this can become a really nice part of town.”

Steph James, the council’s service lead for economic growth, said: “I have been working with the businesses on Bridge Street to come to a resolution that helps all of the businesses and have been out and freed up two additional parking spaces outside The Chippy and Goyals.

“The al fresco dining was put in place to allow two independent businesses who were unable to re-open as they did not have outdoor hospitality space to trade.

“Other businesses on the other side of Bridge Street are also welcome to apply and the council will happily support them.

“There is a balance to be struck to meet the needs of all businesses and by amending the layout of the dining area and speaking to the businesses I am hoping we have struck a balance.

“The feedback from members of the public has been very supportive in terms of giving the businesses the opportunity to trade and I hope to continue working on Bridge Street to help promote all of the businesses as we move out of lockdown.”

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