Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 19:31 UK

New 130m revamp 'hurting trade'

Parkway Newbury
The 130m Parkway project will include 64 new shops

Traders in a Berkshire town say they are "hanging on by their fingertips" because construction of a £130m development is putting off customers.

Work on the Parkway retail and housing development in Newbury has caused disruption since it started last year with its completion due next year.

Trader John Ince said business was down by more than 25% in recent months.

But the council said extra parking spaces had been made available and new signs erected to advise of disruption.

Mr Ince, who runs the Artifax store, said: "Some months we are hanging on by our fingertips.

"When I looked at this year with the roadworks and the reduced parking we built in a 25% decline in business.

They have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous overnight and on top of Parkway and the recession it is causing people a lot of confusion
John Ince, Artifax

"But we have had some months when it has actually been worse than that."

However, footfall statistics has revealed the decline in customers in Newbury is less than the national average.

Councillor Pamela Bale, deputy leader of West Berkshire council, said: "I do understand that all this is giving people the impression that Newbury is a difficult to come to.

"But it is not, there are plenty of spaces in the car parks, the signage is good in the town to show shoppers how to get to those spaces."

The council has also come under fire for raising parking charges by 20% and bringing in more traffic wardens, who used to be rarely seen.

Mr Ince said: "The council just haven't cut us any slack.

"They have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous overnight and on top of Parkway and the recession it is causing people a lot of confusion."

The council said it took over control of traffic wardens from the police in April and says it is duty bound to enforce parking laws.

The Parkway development will see 64 new shops, a department store, new cinema and new homes.



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