Havant traders distraught after council blocks off free parking outside shops
A LAUNDRETTE, fish and chip shop and an embroidery shop are just some of the businesses that stand to lose out after a council blocked off the parking outside.
In Market Parade, Havant, there is a row of free parking for visitors to use at their leisure.
But on Monday, June 22, Havant Borough Council barricaded this off, allegedly citing safety reasons.
The barricades run from the southern end of Market Parade, pausing outside Iceland, and resuming just past Pizza Hut at the top of the road.
It is a temporary measure in place for the next 12 months – but local traders are furious that they will lose out on customers as a result.
Katie Chandler, owner of Buuckles Personalised Printing and Embroidery, says its going to hit local businesses ‘very hard’.
‘What’s really baffling is that they have barricaded up here but not over by Iceland,’ she said.
‘There’s no logic or reason to that – we struggle to get a footfall up here as it is, so this is going to have a massive impact.
‘We had no warning about this so weren’t able to let our customers know in advance. I don’t see any benefit to this.’
Some of the traders believe the current layout of the barricades favours chains like Sainsbury’s over the small businesses in the street.
Mike Wooldridge, postmaster at the Post Office in Market Parade, says the safety argument is ‘nonsensical’.
He explained: ‘The pavement is already three metres wide, and the government has just lowered the social distancing boundary to one metre.
‘Doing the barricades here but not at Iceland says to me that they don’t care as much about the independent traders.
‘Call me cynical, but I think this is a ploy to get more people parking at the Meridian Shopping Centre, for the sake of council pockets.’
Traders have also been quick to claim a lack of social distancing measures in West Street – where the weekly markets take place.
Havant Borough Council leader Michael Wilson said: ‘With high streets reopening and more businesses due to follow on 4 July, our high streets will be getting busier.
‘The threat of coronavirus has not gone away, and it is important to give shoppers the confidence that a return to the high street will be a safe one.
‘We welcome feedback from local businesses and have already made changes based on our conversations.
‘These measures are temporary and will be continually reviewed with changes made as appropriate.’