TRADERS hoping to expand parking to help with the Christmas rush say they have been snubbed by Sheffield Council.
Millhouses Traders’ Association, which represents shopkeepers on Abbeydale Road, had asked the council for permission to use the former Abbeydale Grange School site for extra parking.
Only a small number of parking spaces are available for visitors to the shopping area – and the traders’ Christmas parking plan was supported by Coun Diane Stimley, Liberal Democrat member for Ecclesall ward, who believes more parking will benefit shoppers and retailers.
But the council has told the traders opening a car park at the old school would pose a health and safety risk and encourage fly-tipping, which would incur extra costs for the council.
Association member Jane Bradley, who runs the Perfectly Dressed shop, said: “It is disappointing we do not have the support of Sheffield
“The association is committed to ensuring we have the best possible chance to succeed in these difficult economic times and making it easier for customers to visit the shops is a huge part of this.
“We hope it is not too late to get a change of heart and allow these spaces to be made available so our shops are more accessible.”
Simon Argall, from WL Leisure, owners of The Millhouses pub, which allows shoppers to use its car park before it opens at noon, said: “We all feel more support should be given by the council to the association, which is working hard to keep businesses growing and offering employment opportunities.
“This simple request would give them the best chance to increase the number of visitors to the area, particularly in the run up to the festive season.”
Coun Stimely said: “The school site could and should provide some parking spaces for the community to shop locally.”
But Coun Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for finance, said: “There are a number of reasons why we are unable to meet this request.
“In the run up to Christmas we will be working on site with heavy machinery, drilling deep excavation holes as part of plans to move the site on to the next phase of development.
“It would therefore be unsafe and wrong of us to allow motorists to park their cars on the site. We cannot risk people’s health and safety.
“Coupled with this is the fact the site is not lit at night and is not wardened, exposing people to potentially be targeted by criminals.”