Fears grow that new bike lanes in Southsea will damage businesses 'more than Covid'
CONCERNED business owners claim the removal of parking in their road for cycle lanes will damage trade 'more than Covid.'
Portsmouth City Council announced today it would be removing all parking along Elm Grove and Kings Road, in Southsea, to accommodate fully segregated bike lanes in both directions as part of a three-week trial.
If the scheme proves successful there is scope to extend the trial and even make it permanent in a bid to boost cycling in the city.
But shop owners along the road believe it will 'kill' business.
Khoshnaw Agah, owner of the Mediterranean Supermarket in Elm Grove, said: 'Customers will just pass by all the businesses in our road if there's nowhere to stop for shopping.
'The whole road will be closed down, all the business will be killed.
Daniel Nowland, who owns the Southsea Deli, said: 'This will damage our business more than Covid.
'I moved to this premises a few months ago specifically to have customer parking.
'I would not mind if there was enough parking in the side roads but there are never any spaces.
'I feel like the council didn't listen to our concerns.'
Prior to the decision to approve the cycle lanes the council held two public engagement events and distributed surveys in the area. Of the businesses that were surveyed 72 per cent were not in favour.
As part of the proposals loading areas will be provided for deliveries.
But the owner of florist shop Rose Clover, Liz Penman, said: 'It's going to be difficult with deliveries if there's just one designated area. Some of us get really bulky deliveries that need to be dropped off right outside the shop.
'I have customers who come from quite far away such as Chichester who drive. And if someone's picking up a large potted plant there's no way they can carry it on their bike.'
Rebecca Pike, one of the owners of the Robert Pike Chiropodist, was worried about the impact on patients.
'We are concerned because quite a few of our customers have poor eyesight, are elderly or are disabled,' she said.
'So if they get a taxi here it's going to have to stop in the middle of the road and they've got to get themselves through a bike lane to us.'
Councillor Lynne Stagg, the council's traffic and transport boss, said previously: ‘We think we've struck a balance with an experimental approach of running this as a three-week trial, that gives us an opportunity to see how it works in practice and means if there is an impact on businesses it will only be short.'
A consultation will be held if the council considers making the lanes permanent.
Parking suspensions will be put in place from today (October 21) ahead of work to install the cycle lanes the following week.