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'Plans will ruin businesses'

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Traders in the St Martin's area of the city say new traffic plans will destroy their businesses and ruin its character.

The city council has announced proposals it says will attract more shoppers and tourists who will come to see the new Richard III visitor centre planned for the area.

Under the plans, parts of St Martin's, Hotel Street and the length of Grey Friars are to become car-free zones.

On-street parking will be removed from Peacock Lane and New Street, except for one loading bay and one disabled parking space.

Other restrictions will be imposed on other roads including Friar Lane.

David Hartshorn, who owns The Case restaurant in Hotel Street, said: "These proposals will have exactly the opposite effect to what is proposed. They will drive people away.

"It will lead to businesses moving out and empty shop fronts appearing and that will ruin the character of the area."

Mr Hartshorn has run the business for more than 20 years. He said: "I have regular deliveries of fresh food during the day. These restrictions will severely disrupt my business as delivery drivers will have to carry heavy weights considerable distances.

"Removing the parking spaces will also result in people staying away. People will not carry shopping bags long distances. They will use shops where there is parking close by."

Dayle Flude, who owns the Cank Street Gallery, said: "Grey Friars, St Martin's and Hotel Street form a square around the old bank in St Martin's. It is the hub for the old town's independent shopping area.

"The proposed restriction of vehicles to the area and the loss of car parking and loading spaces will impact on retail in a wide area of the city because it will inconvenience and deter customers from coming to this part of the town."

Dayle said that, on Cank Street, there were more than 40 private car parking spaces and vehicles were able to drive through the area at all times of the day.

She said: "It is proposed between 4pm and 7pm the market traders in their vehicles will exit the market place driving through about a quarter of the pedestrian area.

"The volume of traffic through the zone, in my opinion, makes it unsafe for the public to wander through believing it to be traffic free.

"These proposals need to be revised and I hope that we can have a meeting with the council officers to discuss them."

Another businessman, Peter Butler, said: "Disabled parking will be moved even further from the centre of the city."

Steve Richards, the city council's project manager for planning transportation, said: "I want to stress these are proposals and we want to discuss them with people. I have already had representations from traders and we are aware of their concerns. I am hoping to have a meeting with them."

The deadline for comments is Monday, July 1. People can write to the council at Legal Services, Leicester City Council, Welford Place, Leicester, LE1 6ZG.

'Plans will ruin businesses'


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