Shoppers ‘could be driven away’ by parking problem in town

Visitors to Huntingdon are experiencing difficulties parking. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED.

Visitors to Huntingdon are experiencing difficulties parking. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED. - Credit: Archant

Shoppers and traders in Huntingdon are losing out because of problems with accessing a key town centre car park, it has been claimed.

There have been calls for improved signage at the Sainsbury’s car park from both the public and a businessman at the adjacent Chequers Court shopping area who say shoppers are being driven away by congestion.

John Leaden, 77, from Euston Street, was so surprised to see traffic queuing on the ring road to get in to the car park on Saturday whilst the top floor of the multi-storey was empty, that he took photographs of it.

Mr Leaden said: “I think it is absolutely disgraceful. It has been put up a great expense and people are just not using it.

“I personally think there should be better signage, possibly illuminated signs showing how many spaces are left. People are going to avoid Huntingdon like the plague.”

Mr Leaden said confusion in the car park would also have an impact on businesses planning to move in to the town centre.

“Another thing that causes me concern is that we have got people coming from out of town considering setting up shop in the town and when they see the traffic they are going to think twice,” he said.

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Rod Galbraith, of Chequers Shoes, in Chequers Court, welcomed the opening of new shops in the town centre, but said the development was acting as a barrier, discouraging shoppers from continuing through to the rest of the town centre which affected small businesses there.

“Traffic management in the car park is simply not good enough,” he said. “What we have seen on the last three Saturdays is the number of people coming through has dropped off the face of a cliff.”

Mr Galbraith called for better signs highlighting where spaces were available and directing shoppers in to the rest of the town centre.

He said the present pay on arrival barriers should be replaced by a pay on exit scheme so shoppers would stay in town for longer without having to worry about their ticket running out.

Mr Galbraith called for Huntingdonshire District Council to use spare pockets of land in the town centre for parking.

There have already been complaints about delays on the ring road and in finding a parking space, with some shoppers saying they have gone elsewhere.

Huntingdonshire District Council is carrying out a major review of parking across the district.

Cllr Jim White, executive councillor for operations, said the council had no control over traffic on the ring road but was working with other agencies involved, looking at issues such as peak flow rates and sequencing of the traffic lights.

But he said police had not reported any issues.