The relocation of a taxi rank 50 yards onto a disabled parking bay has been slammed as showing a “total lack of planning”.
An Accrington hackney cab rank has been relocated to Church Street by Lancashire County Council (LCC), as part of the development of the new £6.4m bus station.
The change, which county hall bosses say is only “temporary”, has meant the disabled parking bay has been moved off Church Street onto the former taxi rank, and traders say the change will hit their disabled customers.
Barbara Joinson, who works at Hairy Stories Hairdresser, on Church Street, said: “Our disabled customers who used to park outside the shop, now have to cross a very, very busy road to get to us.
“They are going to find it difficult to come in the shop, it’s harder for them and bad for our business. There was no notification. I just don’t know why they couldn’t leave it the way it was before.”
The works are part of the same traffic order which has seen some motorists flummoxed by a new one-way street system in the town centre, with some claiming they were 'an accident waiting to happen' .
Conservative councillor Peter Britcliffe wrote to LCC bosses following complaints from shopkeepers about the rank moving from Holme Street.
He said: “The taxi drivers and shopkeepers don’t like it. The taxi rank is taking up parking space, it’s causing just chaos down Church Street.
“The county council have had plenty of time to sort the changes with the new bus station coming in - why do it all rushed at the last minute?
“They have come back to me and said this is a temporary measure which is why they didn’t need to do consultation.
“It must be costing a lot of money to put systems in and signs up that may very well change in a few weeks’ time.”
Coun Britcliffe added: “Accrington is struggling enough as it is without this adding to the chaos and confusion. It shows a total lack of forethought and planning.”
The new bus station on Crankshaw Street was originally due to open on May 6, but delays attributed to 'relentless bad weather' at the start of the year saw that put back until July 10.
Dwayne Lowe, area highways manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “The relocation of the taxi rank from Holme Street to Church Street originated from discussions with councillors, Hyndburn Borough Council and the taxi operators.
“It’s important to make it clear that this is only a temporary change. While it’s in place, we’ll be speaking to local businesses and taxi operators to gauge their views on the new arrangement to see if it should be made permanent.”