INDEPENDENT traders in Lee-on-the-Solent claim that the lack of parking law enforcement in the high street is damaging businesses – and a councillor wants to take their fears to the top of Hampshire Constabulary.
After the last traffic warden in Gosport was made redundant last December, businesses are noticing that more cars are being parked for periods of up to a couple of days.
This, they say, means that shoppers are being driven away to other areas due to the lack of parking spaces.
Restrictions for parking on the High Street are that vehicles should only be parked there for an hour.
Deb Watts, owner of The Wine Bank, said: ‘We have noticed that cars are being parked for days on the High Street, which is causing customers to go elsewhere to shop as they can’t find a space to park.
‘People like to pop into the shops, get their shopping and go.
‘Customers are mentioning to us when they do eventually get to us, that it’s so frustrating as they just wanted to pop in, which never used to be a problem.’
The owner of Moto Mart, Tony Salter, has criticised the council’s approach to coming up with a solution.
He said that when he asked councillors about the issue they deflected blame onto the police, and believes they will ‘not take ownership of the streets.’
But ward councillor for Lee East, Cllr Graham Burgess, said: ‘The Lee-on-the-Solent Business Association is becoming concerned about the situation as one business has already closed with others struggling.
‘At this time of the year more people are visiting Lee for the seafront and spending time browsing in the High Street and using the cafés and restaurants, but there is a noticeable decline.
‘I have asked that a meeting between the Lee Business Association and the chief constable or deputy to put these concerns to the highest level.
‘It would be a shame for our once vibrant High Street with diverse independent traders to be under threat.’
Other businesses, such as Manor House Bed and Breakfast which have their own customer parking, aren’t as badly affected.
A Solent Mobility Centre spokeswoman said the issue hadn’t had much effect on their business.