BUSINESSES say they can now breathe a sigh of relief after controversial waiting restrictions outside shops were withdrawn.
When the A3M bus corridor opened in 2008, London Road south was closed off to traffic and only buses could go through.
The 20 businesses in the stretch were hit hard by a fall in passing trade and many struggled to keep going.
For years, the Waterlooville Business Association has campaigned to have waiting restrictions lifted – which Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council have now agreed to.
Simon Woodham, the owner of Royals fish and chip shop, said: ‘It’s brilliant. I’m watching them burn off the yellow lines as we speak. I’m very happy when you consider how long we have been going on about this and how devastating it has been for trade.
‘Having a 30-minute waiting time means people will be able to come in to me to get their fish and chips, go to the newsagents, get a haircut and nip to the bank.’
Mr Woodham said before the road was closed off to through traffic Waterlooville was a bustling town centre.
He went on, ‘When they changed the road they took two thirds of my trade away.
‘Footfall into the shop was 1,400 a week, now it’s 500. Hopefully it will go up again.’
The old signage has been taken away and replaced with Welcome to Waterlooville signs.
Although traders are delighted, the change is only on an 18-month trial basis.
There will be a six-month period during which the county council will hear opinions in support or objection to the order, which will inform the decision on whether the changes are made permanent.
Councillor Yvonne Weeks, in charge of economy and communities at the borough council said, ‘We are committed to supporting business in the borough and with help from the county council we have been able to make practical changes which will hopefully stimulate the economy in the local area.’
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