A lack of surface car parking and road closures due to filming  is having a 'devastating impact' on trade, two long established Bolton town centre  businesses have said.

Julian Holt, owner of Premier Bed Stores, and Mark Howard, Manager of Bolton’s Slater Menswear say the lack of convenient car parking spaces in the town centre is having an impact on their footfall.

Julian said his customers who are elderly or disabled find it difficult to access his store as the car parking on Le Mans Crescent is often ‘closed’ due to filming and the surface level car parks are full by 9am.

He said: “We have been in Bolton for 37 years and we always had the ground level car park outside which was then closed a couple of years ago for the development currently ongoing and yes, the development is good for the area, but we have lost our main car park.

“This is fair enough, things move on but what we are finding now is that all the surface level car parks around the town centre are absolutely jam-packed before 9am and it isn’t shoppers, it is construction workers and people who work in the town centre who are filling them completely.

“When our customers come to park, we normally direct them to the one near the YMCA on Queen Street or on Le Mans Crescent for short stay and disabled parking and it is either packed or Le Mans Crescent is closed off for the whole of it due to filming.

“This week it has been closed over two days and next week it will again be closed for two days, it is getting beyond a joke, as our customers have nowhere to park.

“When we have spoken to the council, they have said there are plenty of multi-storey spaces, but we have elderly customers and disabled customers who find it impossible to park in multi-storeys and can’t walk too far.

“The council argues that filming is great for Bolton but when I walked round yesterday it was absolutely deserted due to the reduction in parking and Le Mans Crescent is closed frequently now.

The Bolton News: The cones in place to prevent parking during filmingThe cones in place to prevent parking during filming (Image: Julian Holt)“I understand filming is great because people see our town on TV and the council is obviously making money from it, but it is no benefit in the slightest to the few shops who are struggling to survive in the town.

“I understand the filming takes place, but I think crews should be parking elsewhere and not taking away the very few parking spots that are in the town centre and they shouldn’t be closing the whole road.”

Julian said it is having a major impact on his business.

He said: “This is devastating my business; it is hard enough to get customers to come into Bolton these days because there is nothing left for them to come to.

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“There is no Marks and Spencer’s and we have customers who want to come to us because they have shopped with us for so long but when they do come, they have nowhere to park.

“When they close off Le Mans it affects our business massively because there is no where close by to park.

“We have seen a lack in footfall and a drop in trade, it is just really difficult.”

The Bolton News: Mark HowardMark Howard (Image: NQ)Mark Howard, Manager at Bolton’s Slater Menswear, said they are also being affected due to a lack of parking.

Slaters has been in the town for 20 years and has invested in the centre by expanding.

Mark said: “There is already limited parking and when the film crews take over Le Mans Crescent it affects us, weekend trade is proportionately the strongest ratio and especially on Sundays.

“From customers in here the feedback we get from them is parking is a massive issue.

“We need to be enticing people in, but people are willing to travel longer distances to get free parking.

“They could be shopping local if there was more parking here, it needs to be addressed.”

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “Filming brings a variety of benefits to Bolton by boosting the local economy, increasing town centre footfall, and raising the borough’s profile.

“While every effort is made to keep disruption to a minimum, on rare occasions it is necessary to close public streets for the safety of the public and filming crews.

“In these circumstances, nearby shops and businesses are informed in advance and we appreciate their continued cooperation.

“Le Mans Crescent is one of Bolton’s best loved public spaces and, as such, we occasionally need to suspend parking to allow filming, civic ceremonies, and major events.

“When this is the case, we urge visitors to consider alternative options including the spaces available in the town centre’s multi-storey, surface car parks or on-street parking.”

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @chloewjourno.