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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Cockermouth traders suffer ‘£2m loss’ because of roadworks

Cockermouth traders are thought to have lost up to £2 million as a result of the Main Street roadworks and are steeling themselves for the next battle.

The town’s chamber of trade will ask the county council to hold off for three years on its controversial plan to introduce on-street parking charges.

Andy Walsh, chamber chairman, said: “We have been so badly hit, we need something to help us. When the road is open, customers will not necessarily flock back.

“Cockermouth has not recovered from the 2009 floods yet.

“We have to spend a lot of time, with help from other people, marketing the town and moving forward.”

He estimated that each shop had lost an average £20,000 as a result of the Main Street improvements.

Cumbria County Council has spent £1.7 million on the work, which will protect the town from flooding.

Mr Walsh, who runs the Coffee Kitchen, said: “It’s cost me £15,000 and I have not been so badly hit.

“The proposed parking charges are a deeply unpopular piece of legislation and they have to realise that we are the electorate.

“This will definitely not boost the town’s economy. Tourists are used to paying, this is a tax on the locals.”

He said that Cockermouth should be given at least three years grace if there was no choice other than to introduce parking meters.

He added: “It will give us time to recover from the roadworks. We need that pause, some time and the ability to recover.”

Eric Nicholson is chairman of Cumbria County Council’s Allerdale local committee, which will meet to discuss the issue on July 17

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From page 1

Its members have been recommended to agree to go to consultation for Keswick to have on-street parking charges. If the consultation goes ahead, the committee will meet in November and make a decision on the recommendation.

The process is due to be repeated in Cockermouth, Maryport and Workington next year.

Councillor Nicholson, who is also a town councillor, said: “On-street parking charges would be detrimental.

“Other towns have done this and it’s caused a downturn in town centre trade because it encourages people to go out of town.

“The last thing we want to see is our town centre deteriorate.

“I believe it’s incumbent on the county council to support local businesses as part of their remit.”

Cumbria County Council was unable to give an exact date for when Main Street will be open.

A spokesman said: “We are hoping to partially reopen the road soon.

“I cannot give an exact date as there are still one or two things to be resolved, such as the gas mains work.”

l On-street parking enforcement plans – Page 25

Have your say

What is the matter with people? I have shopped more and for longer in Cockermouth recently, thanks to the free disc parking. I think they have been doing a brilliant job,there has been access to all the shops all the time, and I haven't seen much shovel leaning. The only thing I haven't been able to do is jay-walk! I will admit that the loss of street parking must have caused problems for people who are not fit enough to walk greater distances, but the work had to be done.

Posted by Judy on 17 July 2014 at 21:19

Time folks wised up to the fact that Cockermouth has been dying a slow death for a number of years due to a number of factors not least a NIMBY attitude amongst locals that prevents proper investment, a local Council that sees the electorate as a cash cow to be milked and local Councillors that care more for self promotion and their expenses claims and who have abjectly failed to the Executive at the Council in any kind of check.

The floods accelerated this state of affairs and the roadworks are exacerbating it further but don't for one minute think that Cockermouth would be thriving without them, the problems run much deeper than that and will need to be addressed long after the workmen have gone.

PS. I must admit, they may have already gone because it's rare to see anyone doing any actual work. Plenty of leaning on shovels, drinking cups of tea or reading the paper in the cabin of the idle digger though. Cumbria County Council (and us as tax payers) are having our eyes taken out by this firm of contractors).

Posted by Frank on 8 July 2014 at 20:23

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