Disability access complaints following Market Drayton's parking changes
The temporary removal of parking including two disabled spaces in a Shropshire town centre has been criticised by some, who say it is over-the-top and has made life more difficult for people with reduced mobility.
Shropshire Council has re-purposed more than a dozen car parking spaces in Cheshire Street, one of Market Drayton's main shopping streets, as space for pedestrians to walk and queue in to make social distancing easier as more businesses open their doors this week.
Some parking spaces are instead available to use for loading to make up for the loss of other loading bays.
Mike Smith, a town councillor, said that he has received complaints and that he personally thought the changes were "too complex and have removed so much on-street parking it has made the area inaccessible to those who are infirm or on crutches et cetera."
He said: "People are not happy about what's happened in Cheshire Street. One disabled man has asked where he is supposed to park now.
"It seems overkill, poorly thought out in my view. We don't get hundreds of shoppers in the small shops, we managed at B&Q and the supermarkets, Wilko et cetera so why they have overreacted?
"In my view, complicating parking et cetera seems a silly idea."
He began a discussion on the online group he moderates, the Drayton Crier, which drew critical comments.
One said: "I think it’s unnecessary for Drayton, may be needed in a large town like Shrewsbury. It is penalising the disabled and less mobile, I am not aware of any problems whilst the shops have been open previously."
Another said: "What a mess, they should have left well alone, closing off the disabled parking bays. The shops are struggling as it is without taking away the few free parking spaces we have."
Some said that making the street's parking spaces available to blue badge holders only, implementing a temporary closure order during opening hours or making the whole of Cheshire Street pedestrian-only would have done more good.
One person said: "I don’t think it will help the traders in the town, where I would stop, pop in a couple of shops, grab some cash from the hole in the wall. I won’t now – may as well call in the supermarket or pop in the Co-op."
A few shared their experiences of the changes so far.
"Just tried to use the bank on Cheshire Street – nowhere to park – so have come to Newport – no problem parking – and will shop here today," said one.
Another wrote: "I think it would have made more sense to just close the street off, like on a Wednesday [one of the market days].
"I was in town today and had to navigate down into the road to go around a few people then back up due to cars. There was no benefit to the parking spaces being closed off."
Town mayor and county councillor Roy Aldcroft said last week: “It has meant the temporary loss of some parking provision, however, if it reduces the possibility of individuals catching or passing on this virus, it will be worthwhile.”