Angry traders in Smethwick High Street have raised a 1,000 name petition in protest at parking restrictions they say has led to a huge 50 per cent drop in takings and a string of shop closures.
Businesses in the Black Country borough’s High Street claim the move by Sandwell Council to ban parking from 7am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 7pm along part of the road has devastated many shops.
Petition organiser Uday Savani of local store Michaels Chemist has now alerted Minister for Housing and Local Government Grant Shapps over the issue – and is considering a legal challenge to the council.
Mr Savani said: “We have businesses here on the High Street that have been functioning well for years and years. This is a resilient business community that has survived recessions in the past but this downturn has been serious and prolonged and we need the council to be more accommodating.
“It seems ridiculous to consider such drastic measures without giving the High Street alternative methods of parking. From our pharmacy, we have already raised more than 1,000 signatures and we aim to collect 3,000 to try to force a public inquiry.
“We are not asking the council for grants and loans to help ailing High Street businesses. This is a High Street which is prudent in terms of business but people are being driven away from using these shops.
“A lot of business owners are looking at ways of getting out completely. If they could sell their businesses, they would move.”
In a letter to Minister Grant Shapps, Mr Savani said: “Despite all our efforts, the council has restricted parking during the hours 7am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 7pm. This we feel has been done without proper consultation and consideration for this part of the High Street.
“This has resulted in a heavy loss to business, and traders have reported falls of 25 to 50 per cent. We now have empty business premises, a situation I have not witnessed in the 25 years I have been trading.”