Pontypool traders gather 700 strong petition calling for extra short-term car parking spaces
10:00am Friday 31st August 2012 in News
PONTYPOOL traders who fear regeneration work in the town is driving away shoppers having collected more than 700 signatures calling for short-term car parking spaces.
Pontypool Indoor Market traders started the petition calling for short-term spaces in Market Street while Rosemary Lane car park is closed during regeneration work.
Traders feel shoppers are being driven away from the town centre as contractors are using the car park as a compound site, while work for the £10m regeneration scheme is being carried out.
So far traders have collected 729 signatures from customers. Torfaen council said it would look into a number of alternative sites for public parking during the works, which are due to be completed in November.
The petition came about after market traders held a meeting to discuss parking problems in the town and the additional ones they feel have been created by the closure of Rosemary Lane car park - which has 22 short-stay car parking spaces and one disabled bay.
Nigel Harris, 60, of Harris Fruit and Veg said he has been in discussions with regeneration manager David Evans about the issue.
He said: "Mr Evans didn't rule anything out but did say he would have to speak to highway maintenance and the police, and they probably wouldn't be able to look at it properly until early 2013.
"I think that's all we're going to get. It doesn't alleviate the problem we have now but at least we haven't been dismissed completely."
Mr Harris also raised the issue about the number of people receiving parking tickets on Market Street in recent weeks.
He put in a Freedom of Information request to Gwent police and found out that from the beginning of February to the end of April, 13 parking tickets were issued but from the beginning of May until the end of July, 94 parking tickets were handed out.
Gwent police originally said no tickets were issued throughout the second period but later apologised for their error and confirmed the correct amount. Mr Harris said: "The constant barrage of parking tickets has been driving our last few customers away from Pontypool."
A spokesman for Torfaen council said: "We are certainly willing to explore this suggestion but it requires a proper highway design and engineering process which will consider all the potential uses of Market Street.
"Due to other work commitments we will not be able to do this until the beginning of 2013.
"We would like to thank traders, shoppers and residents for their patience as we carry out these much needed improvements that will improve Pontypool town centre for everyone."