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Parking plan at Leeds Morrisons store sparks furious backlash

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Furious campaigners are preparing for battle with supermarket giant Morrisons in a row over parking at one of its West Yorkshire stores.

When the Guiseley Morrisons was built nearly 30 years ago, campaigners argue, it was agreed that its car park could be used by the community, a legacy from its time as a public space.

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Now, in the wake of proposals to use cameras to enforce a three-hour time limit on car parking, business owners say the plan will impact on the high street’s ability to thrive.

“When it was built 29 years ago, it was always on the condition that parking was unlimited and unrestricted,” said Sara Wellman, owner of Bellissima salon.

“It’s going to have a massive impact on Guiseley. Staff at businesses across the town will have nowhere to park, and neither will customers.

“It’s a massive problem. People won’t be able to park in Guiseley if they come out for the day.

“We are so angry. It’s just another nail in the coffin for the high street. We are going to fight it – we will not take this lying down.”

There are no other options for long-term parking in the town centre, she adds, as the few all-day spaces are occupied by rail commuters from the early morning.

All other public car parks in the centre, she adds, are limited to two or three hours.

Adam Haigh, who runs Haigh’s Bakery on the high street, said one of the biggest issues was around a lack of options for people who work in the area and need longer stay parking.

“We have a night shift – where are they supposed to park?” he said. “The great irony is that Morrisons car park is empty at night. People will just start parking on residential streets, then the whole area will be up in arms.”

There had been issues with rail commuters taking advantage of the all-day parking at the store, he said, and he could understand the frustration that had created.

But, he added, this could only make things worse for a high street already suffering difficult trading conditions.

“We’ve been here over 30 years, since before Morrisons was built, when there was a Methodist chapel and car park here,” he said.

“We will fight this – what else can we do? It will have such a massive impact.”

The supermarket has proposed the parking restrictions because the town has become increasingly busy over recent years, and argues that its customers were too often unable to find an empty parking space as they were all occupied by people visiting or working at other shops and businesses.

Business owners took their protest to the store on Saturday, where MP Stuart Andrew was holding his regular surgery, securing assurances that he would look into the issue.

“We don’t want to make this a car park that is impossible to park in,” he said.

“But equally we’ve got to protect the high street and small businesses.

“I will be contacting Morrisons to see if there’s a way we can come up with a solution that will meet both ends.”

A spokesman for Morrisons assured campaigners that it was looking for ways to work with them.

“We’ll listen to their concerns,” the spokesman added.

PLANS to turn an empty takeaway into a bar have been refused by Bradford Council.

Planning officers said the application, which would see the former Adam’s takeaway on Saltaire Road converted into a bar called The Peacock Lounge, did not include enough detail for them to approve the scheme.

If approved, the bar would have served alcohol until midnight and be allowed to host live music until 11pm.

The unit is on one of the main routes between Shipley and Saltaire, and has residential accomodation above it.

A new bar and live music venue, Buskers’ Bar, recently opened a few doors down from the unit, and the nearby Saltaire Pride pub is soon to reopen as the Beehive.