Are parking rules 'killing' town centre tourism and business?
PUBLISHED: 09:23 10 May 2017
A Weston-super-Mare businessman has hit out at the new parking enforcement scheme in the centre of town, saying it is killing both tourism and business.
Chris Kimitri owns the York Hotel, in St Margarets Terrace, and his son Vas runs Bare Grills, in Richmond Street.
Chris told the Mercury both businesses have had delivery drivers unable to drop off goods because there are not enough loading bays in the town.
North Somerset Council began enforcing on-street parking restrictions at the beginning of April and now has wardens on the streets dishing out fines to people parked incorrectly in loading and disabled bays, on yellow lines and in bus stops – at the same time as parking charges went up.
But Mr Kimitri said the officers are ‘not using common sense’ as they are not allowing delivery drivers to drop off goods.
He added: “We have no issue with fining people parked illegally, but I think people doing everyday business and deliveries should get some leeway.
“We have had so many issues already – my window cleaner used to stop outside the hotel as he needed his water, but now he’s not allowed to so I haven’t been able to have my hotel windows washed.”
Mr Kimitri said he had flooring-layers working at the hotel, but they could not find an empty loading bay. They were told they could not use other spaces and so were forced to lug heavy carpets along the pavement.
He added: “On Friday, outside Bare Grills, there were three delivery drivers all asked to move on – so they drove off and did other drops which meant we were hours behind in the kitchen.”
Mr Kimitri said he fears businesses will now be too scared to set up in the town, which will mean there are fewer places for tourists to stay and eat.
He added: “It is like the council is trying to kill the tourism industry.”
A council spokesman said there are no new rules in place, but it has simply started to enforce them.
They added: “St Margarets Terrace used to be full of illegal parkers, so delivery drivers couldn’t park anyway. Now there’s a loading bay just around the corner, which is now free of cars most days because we enforce it.”
They said there are no plans to create more loading bays, and added: “We have had a few complaints but also complements on what we are doing. There are now many free loading bays around the town.”
The spokesman said permits which will allow people to park in restricted areas will soon be available, at a cost of £30 per day for one location.