Le Durkin in Birkdale

A businessman is hitting back at demands from local Lib Dems to drive new cycle lanes through Birkdale Village.

Lee Durkin, who has worked in his family business, MD Joinery, since 1997, has already seen the devastation that pop up cycle lanes have caused businesses in Southport town centre.

And the Conservative Party candidate for Birkdale Ward is warning of the dangers of extending the lanes from Southport town centre and through Birkdale.

Local Lib Dems Simon Shaw and Iain Brodie Browne revealed their calls for cycle lanes to blight Birkdale in their recent Birkdale Focus newsletter.

In the leaflet they said they have already met with Sefton Council’s Cycling Officer to discuss a cycling route through the area.

Lee Durkin said: “I have been contacted by a number of local residents about the recent leaflet distributed by local Liberal Democrat councillors, saying they are very concerned about their plans to create cycle lanes and electric charging points for cars in Birkdale .

“This is a hot topic among business owners in Southport town centre at the moment, who have seen these lanes imposed with no consultation at all and with devastating consequences for their shops, offices, restaurants and cafes.

“The new cycle lanes have seen a substantial number of vital parking spaces in Southport town centre lost, meaning customers can no longer drive in and park outside.

“This is at a time when businesses are desperately trying to survive and build themselves back after the Coronavirus pandemic.

“As an experienced businessman myself, I know how vital it is for customers to be able to park outside.

“Everyone in Birkdale knows one of the major problems in the area is a lack of parking. We need more parking spaces here, not more cycle lanes, which as the business owners in Southport town centre are finding out to their cost are unsightly, impractical and damaging to trade.

“Why on earth would Birkdale want them? And why are the Lib Dems holding secret meetings with council officers about bringing them here without business owners and local residents being consulted first?

“The new cycle lanes, in addition to the new electric charging points they propose, would reduce the number of available parking spaces in the village, and would cost Birkdale shops, restaurants and other businesses many thousands of pounds in lost revenue every year.

“I do believe the current Birkdale councillors have lost touch with the local residents and local businesses.”

Southport Conservative MP Damien Moore said: “I have received a substantial number of emails and letters from business owners in Southport town centre who are horrified at the impact these new cycle lanes are having on trade.

“I have long campaigned for more parking spaces in Southport town centre as well as free parking concessions such as first hour free.

“We want to see people being able to drive into places such as Southport town centre or Birkdale Village, being able to find parking spaces easily and cheaply, before enjoying their lunch or a coffee in local restaurants and cafes, and then loading up their cars with things they have bought in local shops.

“These new cycle lanes have proved to be disastrous in Southport town centre and calling for them to be extended through to Birkdale, which already suffers from a lack of available parking spaces, is baffling.