Town centre firms are being ‘penalised’ over parking, says business owner

PUBLISHED: 09:53 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:53 21 December 2017

I Design Interiors, Louise Mitchell in her studio.

I Design Interiors, Louise Mitchell in her studio.

Archant

A Weston business owner claims small firms are being hit with fines for using loading bays.

Louise Mitchell, from Idesign Interiors, was fined for using the loading bay outside her shop because the parking warden did not see evidence of her loading and unloading.

Louise and her partner Adam Wood own the kitchen design specialist in High Street. She claims they were taking heavy kitchen equipment into their storeroom when they were given a penalty notice as it did not look like they were ‘actively loading’.

She said: “We have no other storage facilities so we have to take products into our storeroom regularly.

“Our storeroom is out the back of the shop and we have to the stack heavy appliances so it can take a bit of time.

“We can’t leave the van doors open to show that we are loading as we’ve got expensive tools and we don’t want them pinched.

“We have to go back out and open the doors and it takes several journeys. We got ticketed because we weren’t observed loading.

“My fear is we are going to get a ticket every time we use it unless we can provide documentary evidence that we were loading at the time. Should I stand outside and take photos every time?”

According to North Somerset Council’s website, businesses have to be ‘actively loading’ to use a loading bay.

A council spokesman said: “A loading bay has to be used for loading or unloading not parking to get stuff ready. A vehicle cannot be parked there while the goods are put away.

“Items should be ready to load or unload and once completed the vehicle should be moved as the loading bay will serve multiple businesses.”

Louise says footfall to her shop has halved since on-street parking charges were brought in. She said: “I’ve a real issue with the fact that town centre businesses are being penalised. I’ve been here seven years and we are doing our bit for the local enconomy but there’s nothing to support us.

“It seems we can’t even use our loading bay which is there for apparent use.”

Town centre manager Steve Townsend said a number of businesses have had similar issues. He said: “I urge busineses to contact parking services if they have a specific situation. They need to communicate so they can mange it before they get ticketed.”

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