COMMUNITY leaders have urged critics of Garstang’s new town centre “bays” to let the new parking regime settle before condemning it.
There has been a mixed reaction to the laying out of the two elongated bay areas, the first of which stretches from Claire & Howard optometrists to Age Concern, and the second from Conway Cards to Carl Josef, Market Place.
The marked out bays were painted onto the road surface last week – meaning for the first time in many years day-time parking is now allowed on High Street/Market Place, albeit for only 30 minutes
The arrival of the bays follows a three year campaign by traders and the town council, keen to encourage short-term parking, which they believe will encourage trade and smooth traffic flow.
But while the new 30-minute only parking regime has been cautiously welcomed it looks as if traffic tailbacks caused by blockages on the High Street could continue.
Since last Friday several tailbacks have been reported, with buses being unable to get down High Street and Market Place due to large cars, vans or station wagons parking in the bay.
Concerns have been expressed that both of the new bays include two of the High Street’s worst pinchpoints – near the antique shop, Co-op and post office, and further south between White’s shoe and clothes shop and the old town hall.
One motorist witnessed a traffic hold-up on Monday caused by a large vehicle, legitimately parked in the bay next to the old town hall.
He said: “Why did they paint the lines at the most narrow part of the street? It is going to cause just as many blockages here as it did when people parked illegally before!”
Former councillor Norah Hoyles said she welcomed the bays, but believed unless they were policed the blockages could still happen, particularly near the post office.
On Monday one trader, who wished to remain anonymous, said a car had been parked outside her shop for three hours
Another concern has been voiced by one of the owners of the few homes on High Street.
Widower Edith Robinson, 99, who suffers from eyesight degeneration, said large cars and vans were now parking outside her cottage home, blocking out much of the light.
She claims she was not consulted about the bay plans and intends to lobby the county council to get the bay outside her home removed.
Garstang Chamber of Trade spokesman Damian Carr said urged people to give the bays a chance. “Traffic should be able to flow smoothly if people use the parking bays correctly. Hopefully it will settle in. We have got to give it a chance, He said..”
l See comment, page six.