MANSFIELD shop-owners fear a pedestrian crossing planned for the new Sainsbury’s development on Nottingham Road will mean the end for their livelihoods.
The worried traders say the zig-zag lines preventing parking either side of the puffin crossing will mean a drop-off in business as customers will no longer be able to park outside their premises.
Outlets such as Brambles florists and McDuff’s Sandwich Bar say their businesses will die if delivery drivers cannot load-up outside due to the zig-zag lines which will extend from the corner of Talbot Street to the Talbot Pub.
Viv Holmes, of Mansfield Balloon Company, fears the crossing means trouble. She said: “I have no idea what I will do. Fifty per cent of the trade is the deliveries we do on a Saturday or Sunday - six or seven a day.”
Viv said she and other Nottingham Road traders were notified of the plans in a letter from Nottinghamshire County Council last year and feel powerless to do anything now work has started on Nottingham Road.
“I objected to Nottinghamshire County Council about customers not being able to park but I just got a stiff reply saying parking could not be taken for granted.
“The council’s own planning officers objected to this development - they have said they will put money into park benches and things like that but it is us business owners who will be the ones sat on them.
“Do we really need another pedestrian crossing? Anyone living north of Sainsbury’s can use the traffic lights to get across.”
Viv, whose business has been at its current address for the last six years, said she had built it up from scratch. “If it fails I will be back in the job market along with my husband and two employees,” she said.
The businesswoman said she wanted some assurance from the supermarket that customers would have free parking in its carpark and business owners would have long stay free parking.
“We have all noticed a downturn in trade as it is and I worry that not everyone will be comfortable parking at Sainsbury’s. We want something in writing which we can put on a leaflet to assure our customers.”
Sainsbury’s project manager Coryn Martin said: “The installation of a new pedestrian crossing was requested by Nottinghamshire County Council Highways and approved by the local council following consultation with local traders.
“The new crossing will increase footfall for the traders along this part of Nottingham Road and provide direct access to the new Sainsbury’s car park.”
“The car park at our new Mansfield store will be free for short stays and this has previously been confirmed to the many traders we have spoken to. We are in discussion with the store management team to see if arrangements can be made for business owners to use the store car park for longer than the permitted hours.
“While work on the crossing has now started we have also made the local authorities aware of the on-going concerns, specifically those raised by the Balloon Company regarding parking for delivery vehicles.
“However, traders who raised concerns during the original statutory consultation period were formally responded to by the highways authority and the inclusion of the crossing was justified in these responses.
“Sainsbury’s takes its role as a good neighbour extremely seriously, and we will always do what we can to assist with the needs of our neighbours.”
Chris Charnley, head of service for highway management at Nottinghamshire County Council, said a lot more people were expected to get to the store on foot than at present, adding: “Whilst the zig-zags do take out some parking we have tried to minimise their extent and, consequently, kept the increase in walking distance for customers to these businesses to a minimum.”
Coun Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for economic regeneration at Mansfield District Council said: “It is my opinion that councillors on the planning committee chose to accept the application due to the support shown by the majority of the public in a consultation exercise, as well as the benefits the supermarkets will bring by offering more employment opportunities.”