Furious traders have hit out at a Chorley town centre parking crackdown – slamming it as too heavy handed.
Fines were slapped on traders’ and workers’ vehicles in the Chapel Street and Fazakerley Street areas on Sunday by Lancashire County Council parking wardens.
But they have been told it was their own fault and they were flouting the law – and that the restrictions and traffic signs have been there for years.
Malcolm Allen, chairman of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “It was people who work in the shops, basically. With free parking on a Sunday, there’s no reason why they should be parking in the precinct anyway.
“The restrictions are there to encourage shoppers and let them know they need to be safe. On Sundays, families come into town – parents, grandparents, and it’s not safe to have cars driving in the precinct.
“It’s been getting dangerous over the last couple of years.
“It’s a pedestrian precinct. It’s not an escape route for taxis and not for picking people up and dropping them off.”
George Ikin, 48, who opened the Havana Casa de Café in the former Burton’s menswear store last week, was one of those fined.
He said: “I never leave my car there, but over the last seven Sundays I’ve been in building the place up. They booked about 10 cars. They could have just knocked on the window and told me they have changed the rules, or sent a letter. I was just infuriated. I do agree, it should be for loading and unloading. There should be no traffic there, but it’s never been an issue before.”
Peter Bell, LCC’s manager for network and highways, said: “We had received complaints about cars being illegally parked on Market Street, and the streets leading off including Chapel Street and Fazakerley Street. Our enforcement officers issued some penalty charge notices in these areas on Sunday. The parking restrictions are there to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians and to keep traffic moving.”
Coun Peter Wilson, Chorley Council deputy leader, said: “We’ve been approached by traders who have said that the pedestrian areas are becoming more dangerous, particularly in the evenings and on Sunday.”
Chorley asked LCC to carry out more patrols. He added: “The laws haven’t changed and to give people notice we put up some additional signage to remind them of the parking restrictions, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.” .