FIRST it was Maclean, now it is a group of South Grafton business owners disappointed with the Clarence Valley Council's plans for car parking in the CBD.
A number of Skinner Street business owners and residents have raised concerns that as a result of a $1.3 million beautification project for the main street, space currently allocated to car parks will be lost.
The beautification of the street includes new lighting, kerbing, paving, tree planting, street furniture, a paved median strip and pedestrian crossing, a cafe and new amenities block near the river.
The design plan incorporates principles of crime prevention, including increased street lighting, increased casual surveillance and minimised opportunities for concealment.
Skinner Street will also benefit from new drainage work, the installation of underground powerlines, a new bus stop outside the Emporium Cafe, and line markings for car spaces and a median strip for delivery truck parking.
But some business are concerned about a reduction in parking and a lack of policing. .
Skinner Street has 73 car spaces, however as they are unmarked, this is difficult to quantify.
As a result of the council approved plan, 65 spaces will remain.
Grafton Textiles owner Stephen Ward said more than 20 per cent of car parking spaces would be lost.
“I have gone from the plan that was put forward by council and have established that there will be a loss of at least 20 car parks in Skinner Street due to the construction of blisters and bus zones,” Stephen said.
“I have also put forward a petition to 31 businesses in the street regarding concern for the loss of parking and 29 of the 31 businesses I approached signed without hesitation,” he said.
Business owners also voiced concerns regarding the closure of the street and the effect this would have on people's shopping habits.
Mayor Richie Williamson, however, believes the parking problem put forward will be addressed.
“According to the approved plans, there is a loss of eight car parks,” he said.
“The council realises the importance of parking to local business and is aware that there are differing views on the matter.
However, council will manage this loss through tougher and more frequent policing of parking in Skinner Street.
“Council is also looking to form a working group which will involve four South Grafton business representatives, council staff and officers and community representatives.
“We hope to form the group as soon as possible and applications are now open.
“The role of the group will be to assist council through the project and give ongoing feedback after completion.”
While work on the project is expected to start by mid April. A completion date was unavailable.
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