A SHOP owner has claimed his business is being hit after eight parking spaces in a busy Accrington town centre car park were reserved for council workers.
And Chris Fisher, who runs Printing.com @ Kingfisher Print, claims that council employees are barely bothering to use the bays at the Crawshaw Street car park.
Hyndburn Council sayS the spaces have been provided as a ‘temporary measure’ for workers carrying out inspections throughout the borough, and pointS out the car park has been earmarked for a new bus station.
The bus station planning application is yet to be approved due to funding concerns and building on the site will not begin until at least 2011.
Mr Fisher, 37, said: "We have a shop on Blackburn Road and I look at this car park now and all eight car parking spaces are empty - as they are every day.
"They’ve boxed off one whole bay of the car park. I have seen one car parked there, but it’s never more than one and the rest of the car park is absolutely chock-a-block. It’s rammed all the time now, except for these eight empty parking spaces. It’s affecting business and the same for anybody who wants to use Union Street.
"The actual traffic management order on the park is for three hours shoppers’ car park, it mentions nothing about council employees to park. They’ve just snuck a sign up about a month ago saying ‘Reserved Monday to Friday’."
He added: "It’s bad with the current traffic situation and parking situation where the wardens are jumping on you as soon as you park. It’s tough enough without making it worse. Why should council workers be given special treatment, they have their own car park behind Cannon Street?"
Mr Fisher referred the matter to Independent councillor Nick Collingridge, who raised it with the council’s chief executive.
Councillor Collingridge said: "It does seem a bit silly and to be a backward step. I’m against giving council workers spaces when these should have gone to shoppers. I’ve talked to David Welsby about it and we didn’t get anywhere.
"We should be a bit more dynamic with our thinking and taking away parking spaces is wrong. We’re trying to attract more people into the town centre, not turn them away."
A council spokesperson explained: "The spaces were made available following a request by staff based at the Cannon Street offices. The staff concerned need to use their cars frequently to carry out site visits and inspections throughout the borough. This is something that we are monitoring and if the spaces are not being used as intended then we would be happy to turn them to general use.
"The spaces can certainly be used outside normal office hours and at weekends for members of the public and a sign is on order and will be going up very soon to highlight this."