The introduction of the temporary bus stops at the bottom of School Hill in Lewes meant a number of parking bays had to be removed. Already retailers are feeling the effects of the loss of those bays.
Lewes Chamber of Commerce has been contacted by retailers in the immediate area who said since the bus stops were installed, they have seen a drop in business. The owner of Sage and Onion, based opposite the new stops, said the removal of the parking bays has already meant significantly fewer customers coming into the shop. Other traders on School Hill stressed how important the parking bays are to their business, but car owners are also being put off because of the exorbitant costs to park on the high street.
Chamber President, Ashley Price, said “The retailers are often forgotten when it comes to changes on the high street, there is no consultation as to how it may affect their livelihoods. Those who plan these changes should remember the owners of the shops invest tens of thousands in their stock, as well as advertising and promotion, they have high rent and rates to pay, and they are battling against ever increasing online shopping. The cost of living crisis is also taking its toll. Owners have expressed to me their disappointment and anger that changes are made which have a detrimental effect on their businesses, without their views being sought.”
There is a plan at the car park in Westgate Street, to have charging points for electric cars, which could lead to the loss of further bays.
Now the traders are wanting the Council to provide alternative parking as close to the high street as possible to make up for all the missing bays.
Ashley said “Rather than constantly putting obstacles in the way to earning a living, it’s about time the Council did something to help support the retailers.”