Car park chaos puts the pinch on Fareham shops

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SHOP owners are warning that thousands of new patients going to a medical centre opposite them could kill their businesses.

Since another practice moved from the Fareham Health Centre to the Highlands Medical Centre earlier this year, bringing more than 5,000 extra patients with it, local businesses say the parking situation has reached crisis point.

The centre in Highlands Road, Fareham, now has 16,000 patients on its books and is completing extension work for the expansion.

But it will still only have 27 parking spaces – seven of which are for staff.

The shops have 40 spaces for 18 units.

Manager at Debut hair salon Clara Fordina said: ‘We have had quite a lot of complaints.

‘If customers can’t get parked, they’re going to change to another salon.

‘You see people going round and round trying to find a space before throwing up their hands and just driving off.’

Matthew Staker, of His & Kids hairdressers, said: ‘We’ve spent six years building up this business and we could be gone in six months.

‘We have customers come to us from all over, but if they can’t park, how much longer are they going to bother?’

Paul Milson, owner of Stacey’s gift shop, said: ‘Our sales are down, but my other concern is the safety side.

‘We get a lot of kids and elderly here and one of them is going to get knocked down sooner rather than later.’

Ward councillor Peter Davies said: ‘There was no consultation, there was no chance for people to have their say on what they thought about it.’

Practice manager Amanda Gray said: ‘The car park has taken longer than we hoped to fully reopen, but when it is we have the required capacity as laid out in planning guidelines.

‘Admittedly, parking is tight for the shops but we hope things will calm down again in a few weeks.’