The Wyre market town of Garstang seeks to promote itself as a delightful Christmas shopping destination.
But this week residents and businesses were dismayed to discover no parking was being permitted in the car park at the top of the High Street,
A sign by Keyworker Homes, which has re-developed part of the the site, advised that the ban on entry to the car park was for Monday and Tuesday. But this morning it was still closed according to local resident Mary Randles.
Mary, co -founder of the Garstang Events initiative which seeks to promote Garstang and attract visitors to the town and administrator of the Your Garstang Facebook page said: "It's the mnajor shopping week and Garstang has been in gridlock for two days. I just think it's absolutely ridiculous... It feels like a slap in the face."
She continued: "I feel so sorry for the shop keepers. They've all been closed during the pandemic...now nobody is coming in because the car park is shut. It's mad."
She said many shop keepers were complaining they had not been consulted about the closure.
The number of car parking places available on the riverside site was reduced after Wyre Borough Council sold off the former council offices business and community centre buildings some years ago.
.The Your Garstang Facebook page, which began life as Garstang Under Threat has been inundated with complaints about the closure. The page was created in 2014 to campaign against the re-development of the car park when the demolition of the town's community and business centre and former council building and the building of new flats and commercial space was proposed.
Garstang Mayor and Town Councillor Counc Alec Allan posted "I was made aware on 15th and raised it immediately with our Wyre councillor. She had not been informed by Wyre. I know she raised it with the Wyre CEO Garry Payne but couldn’t get it stopped. This has been allowed by the planning department at Wyre Council."
Coun Elizabeth Webster, who is a Wyre and Town councillor posted a personal comment saying: "I found out about this Wednesday 15th December and was very surprised and disappointed at the timing. I agree with comments that it’s far from ideal the week leading up to Christmas particularly for all the local businesses, Christmas shoppers, Christmas lunches etc. Our mayor has liaised with Keyworker Homes regarding moving the date to the New Year but it hasn’t been possible."
Steve Lane noted: "Two weeks ago the good old council announced free parking for Christmas week to help the local shops ...could not make it up if you tried."
Alison Russell said: "As a business owner on the High Street this is infuriating! Who in their right mind closes a public car park for the last week before Christmas??! Talk about NOT supporting local businesses, not to mention where people who work in town will park !!"
Wyre Borough Council and Keyworker Homes have been contacted for comment.
Meanwhile Mary Randles contacted Wyre Borough Council and was advised that Keyworker Homes had confirmed that they expected to have the car park re-opened today.
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