Shrewsbury loading bay restrictions spark anger
A newly-elected councillor and cafe owner has hit out at proposed changes to loading bay restrictions in Shrewsbury.
Councillor Gwen Burgess, who owns Darwin's cafe in the town centre, was involved in organising protests against Shropshire Council's new parking strategy during the consultation last year.
Now an elected member following the Meole ward by-election, she is fighting one of the latest proposed amendments to the parking strategy – the extension of loading bay restrictions to 24-hours.
Councillor Burgess said this would be "a disaster for traders, residents and visitors".
Loading bay restrictions were extended from 6.30pm to 8pm as one of the changes in the new strategy.
Councillor Burgess said she had met with Councillor Steve Davenport, portfolio holder for highways, to ask that this be reduced to 7pm as a compromise.
She said: "He said some of the local businesses want to load things into their shops after they close, but he said 'we will see what we can do'.
"I believe one of the supermarkets then couldn't get their wagon outside the shop because somebody was parked in the loading bay.
"Because of that they have said it's going to be a blanket 24/7 across the county. It is a hammer to crack a nut."
Councillor Burgess said the new restrictions would hit the town's evening economy and raised concerns for the safety of late night workers having to make their way back to a car park after dark.
She said: "We should be doing everything we can to increase trade, not putting up more barriers.
"Last week I went to the theatre and Frankwell was shut because of flooding. Where are people supposed to park when that happens?"
Councillor Burgess is urging as many people as possible to make their views known by responding to the consultation, which is open until November 3.
Councillor Davenport said: “The ability for businesses to load and unload is currently being impeded by unnecessary parking within loading bays. And our town centres are becoming more residential, meaning loading bays are required in the evenings for residents to have access for deliveries.
“We believe that provision for loading should always be available, and there’s also a need for consistency across the county to avoid confusion. It is therefore recommended that all loading bays across the county operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“There is free parking after 6pm in all of our pay and display car parks and on-street parking areas, meaning there is ample free parking available in Shrewsbury in the evenings, Raven Meadows is also available in the evenings, with additional concessionary rates also proposed within this consultation."