By Carl Jackson Friday 16 August 2013 Updated: 16/08 10:50
A POPULAR town centre chip shop is being financially crippled by the recent rigorous enforcement of parking charges, the owner has claimed.
Raj Lally, who runs Oceans Fish Bar on The Strand, said some weeks he had lost more than £500 since Bromsgrove District Council took over responsibility for monitoring parking in the town at the end of May.
He said customers would previously use the taxi rank outside to quickly dash in and buy food with a low risk of been charged, but now many were going elsewhere because they were getting fined within minutes.
Mr Lally claimed taxis did not use the bay during the day and called for the rules to be relaxed and drivers to be allowed a ten to 15 minute grace period.
He also criticised the district council's policy not to offer free parking in the evening arguing it hurt Ocean's main trading hours.
"I have had lots of customers complain about getting tickets. One girl received one within two minutes.
"The last couple of weeks have been quiet and I am losing anything between £40 to £80 a day.
"Its common sense to allow people to park for ten minutes. If the rules were relaxed it would help the entire high street which is dying."
A single traffic warden monitored parking across the town centre on behalf of West Mercia Police up until May 30, however now the council has several civil enforcement officers.
Eric Pickles, Local Government secretary, has recently vowed to curb over zealous wardens and 'end the war on the motorist' in a bid to encourage shoppers back to ailing high streets.
He has muted the idea of grace periods as well as imposing a limit on how much council's could fine.
A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said Coun Anthony Blagg, who represents the area, would have to call for change to the taxi rank in order for the highways authority to review it.
But the Bromsgrove Central councillor told the Standard he was not in favour of such a move.
"It would open up a can of worms and people would think they could park anywhere. Hard and fast rules are there for a reason, because they are clear to everybody."
He said he sympathised with Mr Lally but said a single businessman could not be given special treatment, while arguing taxi bays and double yellow lines were there for people's safety and discouraged 'double parking' with motorists leaving cars on the curb alongside others on the road.
Guy Revans, head of environmental services at Bromsgrove District Council, added: "We have a duty to enforce the traffic regulation orders on our roads, and we have to do that consistently.
"Taxi ranks are restricted to taxis only and we must and will ensure that this is being followed."
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