MP Damien Moore has criticised the ‘ridiculous’ plans to restrict traffic in Southport town centre this Summer.
Sefton Council, Liverpool City Region and MetroActive are working together to create pop-up cycle lanes, remove pay and display parking spaces and prevent through traffic in order to make Southport easier to navigate for cyclists and walkers.
But Southport’s MP has warned the plans could have a detrimental impact on Southport’s businesses.
Damien Moore said: “There has not been any consultation about this. This has not been properly thought out.
“We don’t know how it is going to affect travel into Southport town centre, people just have not been asked for their views.
“Where is the business case that this would even work? Where is the business case over how much this would impact businesses in Southport town centre?
“I would much rather see money spent on other routes which will make cycling and walking easier while also helping to grow trade, not damage it.”
Mr Moore is concerned that with planned traffic restrictions on routes such as Queens Road and Talbot Street, some local residents and visitors may be put off venturing into town at a time when shops, restaurants and other ventures are trying hard to win back trade.
He said: “The priority has to be for people to be able to get in and out of Southport town centre and park once they get there as easily as possible.
“I think these plans are absolutely ridiculous.
“What we need to be doing in Southport town centre is to see people come back into our town, fill their cars up with whatever goods they buy from our local shops and head back home happily.”
The new north / south cycling friendly route in Southport town centre will involve the following roads:
● Chapel Street, Tulketh Street and Wesley Street – Cyclists to be allowed under a new ‘Share with Care Space’.
● Queens Road – through traffic will be restricted.
● Hoghton Street – Segregated cycle lanes on both sides of the street, which will remove parking along both sides.
● Talbot Street – (Eastbank Street to Portland Street) –’Quiet Street’, on street pay and display removed. A quiet street is one where people will not be able to use the road as a through route by car.
● Talbot Street / Eastbank Street junction – Temporary traffic management trial to prohibit the exit from Talbot street onto Eastbank Street.
● Talbot Street – (Portland Street to Duke Street) – Quiet Street with on street parking possibly to be made limited waiting for a period during the day.
● Talbot Street – (Duke Street to Belmont Street) – Quiet street with on street parking possibly to be made limited waiting to discourage all day parking.
Damien Moore has already campaigned for Sefton Council to provide temporary free parking in Southport to help traders recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sefton Council suspended car parking charges in March at all of its car parks and on-street parking spaces as the outbreak struck the UK. But the local authority brought back parking charges on Monday, May 18.
Mr Moore said: “Temporary free parking, even free parking up to two hours, would give a huge boost to our local businesses.
“What we all want to see is a thriving, busy Southport town centre.
“Those are the types of measures we want to see in Southport, which will help shoppers, and help businesses.
“This new project in Southport is also calling for the removal of dozens of parking places along Hoghton Street and Talbot Street.
“It is not acceptable in an already challenged area for traffic that the ability for shoppers to park their cars is made even more difficult.
“There has been no thought for the traders, for local businesses or for jobs in Southport being considered as part of this scheme.
“I support the idea of seeing more people cycling. During this pandemic, millions of people have discovered cycling – whether for exercise or as a means of safe, socially-distanced transport.
“I hope it is a trend that continues. But these schemes have to be put in the right places, they have to be done through asking local people what they think, and they have to ensure that they don’t do anything to damage local businesses.
“This has been done with no consultation. It is a typical policy that has been imposed on people in Southport without any due process.”