Motorbike trader quits Bolton town centre because of parking problems
A MOTORCYCLE trader is quitting Bolton town centre after 40 years because he cannot find an alternative site with car parking.
Alan Smallshaw, owner of ESB Motorcycles, closed his Marsden Road showrooom for the final time yesterday and is partly blaming the enforcement of what he claims are unnecessarily harsh parking regulations at the front of his current premises for his demise.
Seven members of staff have lost their jobs, as 73-year-old Mr Smallshaw returns to run ESB’s only other showroom in Leigh, where he has traded successfully for 43 years. Included in the job losses are Mr Smallshaw’s 52-year-old son, David.
Outside the Marsden Road showroom there are double yellow lines — but there is also a parking bay for motorcycles.
But, according Mr Smallshaw, cars parking in the bay — even delivery trucks dropping off new motorcycles — have been given tickets by what Mr Smallshaw described as over-zealous council parking officers.
“I’ve had enough of it in Bolton,” said Mr Smallshaw. “To be honest, the parking is not the only reason we’re going. I’ve tried to find other premises in Bolton, which have parking, but I have been unable to find anything suitable.
“Common sense dictates there must be parking restrictions to keep the highways safe and free of congestion, but is it common sense to deter customers from shopping where there are no safety or obstruction issues? We have been told by customers that they won’t be calling again because of the parking problems.
“Many of these ex-customers were from other towns, including Southport, Rochdale, Preston and from Cheshire. They were spending time and money in Bolton thanks to the ESB connection.”
However, Bolton Council’s director of development and regeneration Keith Davies, said it was be unfair to blame the closure of the shop on parking fines.
He said: “We put motorcycle bays there at Mr Smallshaw’s request in 2009. There are parking bays across the road and a car park round the corner. Since January there has been an average of less than one fine a month at the motorcycle bay. We have also offered to sit down with him to help him look for alternative accommodation, including parking, but he has declined this invitation.”
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