Parking restrictions, caused by the introduction of social distancing measures, are causing a mixed reaction with traders and residents on Moorland Road on the outskirts of Bath, as they adjust to the easing of the government lockdown measures.
Mohamed Aboufarha, a partner in Stokes Greengrocer’s store, said: “For us things were much easier and customers could access the store more simply before the introduction of the red and white eyesores.
“How can customers be expected to carry heavy shopping any great distance? We want them to feel they are looked after here.
“We have fabulous, loyal customers who have supported us throughout this difficult period and the last thing we want to happen is for them to feel penalised in anyway. Our delivery vans can’t load and that can hinder our efficiency.”
David Pye, who owns This “n” That, with his wife Judith, have had a shop on Moorland Road for over 25 years.
He said: “Whilst we understand the government’s need for social distancing and widening of pavements, we feel the directive is aimed at getting people out walking and cycling more and that’s great. However, it was a fait accompli.
“If we hadn’t agreed to the measures put in place to widen the path, it was our understanding that we could have seen the whole of the one-way system pedestrianised. That would have had a really detrimental impact on local businesses.
“People’s safety has to come first and on our side of the road, there are many shops, by their nature of demand for essential items, that have seen long queues, and so social distancing has to be paramount.”
He added: “We’ve probably lost perhaps 10-12 spaces, as only half of the road has these requirements in place.
“Parking is a bug bear, but we are managing and surviving. We’ve been back trading for three weeks and people are cautious, but it’s very much a team here with traders.”
Dan Rosser, owner of The Oyster Shell fish and chip shop, who have been open 7 months in this location said: “I feel the parking restrictions are probably unnecessary as people are careful and mindful of each other.
“Times have been tough, as we have made a massive investment in opening this business here, but we have adapted through an online app ordering system.
“We have also supported local taxi firms by adding the cost of the delivery to orders and in turn supporting the taxi businesses too. The support from the local community and loyal customers has been fantastic.”
Councillor Joanna Wright, B&NES Council cabinet member for transport services, attended the consultation meeting with traders and said: “Urgent decisions had to made in order to protect people and had to be made in unprecedented times.
“The overall majority of people are pleased that we are maintaining the line and prioritising health.
“There is a minority of vocal opposition for these measures. We can see clearly now from what is happening in Leicester and learn lessons from that. We don’t want to be in a position where we need to go back into lockdown.
“We need to act responsibly as a community and work together. “Only five people attended the meeting where we laid out plans for the socially distancing measures to be implemented. I’m surprised that there are still those who oppose them.
“At times like these, a sense of community is vital and I believe this is the case around Moorland Road. What saddened me was the angry mob in Larkhall who ripped them out when they were first put into place. They are now accepted and everyone can see the value of them being in place.
“What’s wonderful is that by having the pavements widened, has meant that more people can now get back to spending money in shops again and that’s what the economy needs.
“I’ve had a lot of constituents contact me saying how thankful they are that they now feel safe to do this.”
Natasha Stott, 38, who has lived in Oldfield Park for six years, said: “There’s a great atmosphere here. I have two children and the introduction of the extended pavements makes me feel far happier as a parent as I’m not constantly having to watch out for the cars coming so close to us now.
“This pandemic has certainly meant that everyone has come together far more and has the time to really chat to one another.
Another local resident said: “I’ve lived in this area for 13 years and over the past few months the shops here have been life-savers.
“I’m relieved to see that people’s safety comes first. Shops who have stayed open during all of this have been a massive pull and reassurance for people in thinking that life is still out there and we are not on our own.”
Cheryl Hughes, Community Reporter