Business owners in Hanham have expressed their anger and frustration at the downturn in trade on the High Street which they claim is the result of a lack of parking in the area for shoppers.
Earlier this year, Hanham Community Centre took measures to ensure its car park was reserved only for people using the venue and while the planning permission granted to Tesco for its supermarket on the former Kleeneze site made provision for short term free parking, there is currently no word on a likely opening date.
Local traders gathered with residents today outside Hanham Eyecare, the latest business to close on the High Street, to try and raise awareness of their plight. The optician closed its doors last weekend after an alarming drop in appointments since the difficulty of parking nearby became apparent. Bernard Jackson, Head of the Hanham Business & Community Partnership, explained that a business such as the opticians generated a lot of spin off business for neighbouring shops as people made the most of their time in the High Street.
Traders also claimed that the lack of short term parking around Hanham High Street was having a knock on effect in the nearby residential streets. One of the reasons the community centre placed restrictions on its own car park was to deter an increasing number of Bristol bound commuters who parked there free of charges and travelled into the city on the showcase bus route. Now. it appears those commuters are parking in the side streets which is causing frustration for both shoppers and residents alike.
Bernard Jackson also said that attempts to use the Tesco site as a temporary car park had even drawn a blank. After a tortuous process lasting several years to obtain planning permission for a supermarket, there is no sign as yet of construction work starting. “We offered to staff and maintain the site as a car park and even cover the insurance costs” said Mr Jackson, “but Tesco said no.”