'Off-site parking from development is killing us' says Luton business
A long-standing Luton business says it has been brought to its knees by contractors taking up parking spaces and delayed roadworks.
Plumbs DIY store, on Kimpton Road, has served the community for more than 50 years, but its owners say activities from contractors at the nearby Redrow development at Napier Park is “killing trade”.
The development was granted permission with offsite parking for contractors, meaning the parking spaces outside shops at Kimpton Road are constantly taken. Customers who dare to park on double yellow lines across the street run the risk of fines.
Plumbs DIY store owner, Paul Sanders, said: “It all began when the Redrow contractors were given offsite parking. We’ve had 27 illegally parked cars on the road every day, and lost all six parking bays outside our shop.
“There was no time limit imposed so they can park from morning until night, and the council says there is nothing we can do. Customers and suppliers can’t get to us.
“Since last year, we’ve lost over £20,000. We’ve had a letter from the landlord about rent, and from the bank saying we’re not paying our overheads.
“If it carries on, we won’t be here by 2020.”
Work on the 55-acre Napier Park site officially began in July 2016, and was heralded by the council as an exciting mixed-use development, set to deliver 520 new homes and yield a potential investment of £600 million.
The site formerly housed the Vauxhall car plant until 2001.
But while the new estate may offer opportunity for local businesses in the future, Mr Sanders say Kimpton Road shops are struggling to get by.
Mr Sanders said: “I’ve done 42 years here and put in six-and-a-half days’ graft without a full wage since Christmas.
“Once our customers find a service elsewhere, it’s very hard to get them back.”
In response to these concerns, a Luton Borough Council spokesman said: “The council appreciates the frustration of local businesses at the duration of the works in Kimpton Road, however works have taken longer to complete than originally planned.
“Consequently, additional parking spaces have been arranged to ease the inconvenience to patrons of the shops.
“Throughout the period council teams have regularly monitored the area for illegal parking. Councillors and officers have spoken to the shop owners and contractors and will continue to do so to minimise disruption to all parties.”
A Redrow spokesman said: “We are keen to support local businesses and are investigating the parking available on Kimpton Road.”