Archive - Thursday, 5 July 2012
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Pontypool regeneration ‘killing our trade’ - claim
THE multi-million-pound scheme to transform Pontypool town centre is killing trade, according to angry local businesses.
CALL FOR ACTION: Cllr Gaynor James says traders are suffering again because of a lack of car parking in Pontypool town centre
Traders claim shoppers are being driven away by the work, which is part of a package of £10m regeneration measures, because Rosemary Lane car park is closed and used as a site compound by the contractor.
Torfaen council said it would investigate a number of alternative sites that could be opened up and used for public parking during the works, which are due to be completed in November, but traders believe this has not happened.
S&S Carpets owner Darren Probert said: “It’s killing local trade. It’s been a lot quieter since the car park has been closed as people get fed up of trying to park. It will be closed for two months, by then there will be no shops left. There’s plenty of wasteground that the council could have used.”
Partner of Salon 68, Vivien Lewis, said: “There have been fewer people through the town centre since the works began.
“People probably think it’s easier to bypass Pontypool and go straight to Cwmbran.”
Bread of Heaven owner Mark Gregory said: “There has been a definite fall in the numbers of shoppers. I don’t see why they had to use the car park. I want to know what happened to the promise to find alternative parking?
“It has exacerbated the parking problem that already exists.”
The manager at Jet Aways, Kelly Dommett, said: “I feel it’s the wrong time of year, in the height of summer, to do it. This is usually the busiest time of year for my business. It should have been done later, like in October.”
Pontypool shop owner and Community councillor Gaynor James said: “Once again traders are suffering because of lack of car parking.
“This is going to run into the Christmas period as once the bad weather starts, the delays will begin, further impacting on traders.
“The council should make a sacrifice by opening the civic centre car park to shoppers and make their staff park on the outskirts of the town.”
A council spokesman said: “We fully explored a number of other options for the site compound before deciding on Rosemary Lane.
“We have consulted fully with traders and we have received very little comment about the site.
“We would like to remind shoppers that spaces are still generally available in Riverside car park, although Market Day on Wednesday is busy.
“We appreciate these works will cause some short-term disruption but they are very important in making the town attractive to shoppers and businesses in the long-term.”
The work which will make the area more accessible to shoppers by repaving the area and adding new street lights, is part of the £10 million Pontypool Settlement Area project, supported by the EU’s convergence European regional development fund through the Welsh government.
The package includes funding from the regional development fund, and Heads of the Valleys programme and is supported by Torfaen council’s own resources. It has also been supported by the Pontypool Regeneration Partnership.