Bus route changes could drive traders out of Hanley - claim
TRADERS fear changes to bus routes and traffic flow in the centre of Hanley will drive them out of business.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has unveiled a host of proposals to prepare Hanley for the opening of its new bus station in the autumn.
The council says the changes are needed to enable buses can come and go from the station as efficiently as possible.
And in order to support regeneration work, a number of streets have been earmarked to become pedestrian areas or have restricted access.
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But some businesses owners say the plans will stop not encourage customers to visiting people to go into their part of town and they will lose trade.
Rob McManus runs Vera Dry Cleaning, in Stafford Lane, and is considering instructing a solicitor to see if anything can be done to stop the proposals.
The business, which was set up in 1954, is off Stafford Street, which is set to become access only for buses and taxis.
Rob, aged 51, who lives in Wood Lane, near Audley, said: “We rely on customers being able to drive up to our door. It is OK if you’re dropping a jumper off, but people won’t want to park and walk with curtains or a wedding dress.
“We are well-established but once they find out they can’t get to us by car, they’ll go somewhere else.
“We have got to find a way for customers to be able to get to us on Stafford Lane.”
“I might to have to speak to a solicitor to see if anything can be done.”
Percy Street, Tontine Street and Albion Square arehave been earmarked for public realm improvements and are set to be pedestrianised.
Access to Percy Street will be restricted to delivery vehicles only before 10am or after 6pm.
But Joanne Laidlaw, manager of Percy Street wedding suit supplier Formal Affair, said that will harm not help her business.
The 48-year-old said: “I don’t open until 10am and close at 5pm so I won’t be able to take deliveries between those times.
“It will cost me more in staff wages if I have to open up early and it costs more to get a guaranteed for delivery before 10am.
“We’ll also lose our parking and no one will want to come to pick up 10 suits and shoes from here and walk through Hanley to the nearest car park.
“This shop will close if they pedestrianise Percy Street.”
As part of the same proposals, buses will stop using Town Road and go down Stafford Street instead.
Jangia Mohammed, aged 23, from Norton, who runs Full Bellys Cafe, in Town Road, said: “A lot of people come into us when they get off the bus.
“They will go somewhere else instead and our business will have to close.”
The plans are on display in the East West Centre offices, in Charles Street, and people are being urged encouraged to have their say.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The new bus station development means that we must provide a decent bus network to support it, and also make sure that pedestrians feel safe and secure when visiting or working around the new developments.
“The exhibition is designed to allow people to have a glimpse at see what things will look like when the project is completed, and also give them the chance to tell us if they agree with the changes to bus routes.”
What do you think of the plans?