Entrepreneurs fear their livelihoods will have a “huge impact” if nearby parking lots are converted into bike lanes.
Jackie Neath says she fears losing profits and customers at The Whimsical Kitchen, her pastry shop on St. Denis Road.
For Jackie, parking spaces are essential to maintaining her beloved business.
But she fears she will lose customers if Southampton City Council goes ahead with plans to build a bike path in front of her store.
The 41-year-old said:[Some] people are up for it, but I’m afraid it won’t help at a time when things are going badly and margins are much smaller.
“Any trade loss is huge now.
“These plans will have a huge impact on our business.
“If people can’t find a place, they won’t come. People see the store and go inside.
“It’s a convenience. I know it may not always be convenient, but the thing is, I can’t tell my customers where to park.”
Jackie’s concerns are shared by her neighbor, Gurpreet Kaur, who runs a post office and Premier Express on St. Denis Road.
The 32-year-old said: “This will really hit us.
“Every day we receive a lot of supplies and they are brought to the store.
“We risk losing Amazon and Evri, again impacting our revenue and our customers.
“Accounts through the roof.”
Jackie shares Gurpreet’s concerns about delivery, as there is no back door to her store.
All deliveries must be made through the front door on the main road.
Removing open parking spaces will affect this.
She said: “I would like to speak to the council in person about the plans.
“We have our own business – this is our livelihood and our income.”
The proposals were published in 2022 and discussed earlier in the year.
It was concluded that westbound uphill cyclists would “benefit the most from the bike lane”.
Now the council’s plans for the road include proposed bike lanes, improved bus stops and the removal of parking lots.
The lanes will be built on the St. Denis Road, Priory Road and St. Denis Road footpaths, if approved, and will be funded by the government’s Urban Transformation Fund.
The plans are open for public comment until March 24.
But not only entrepreneurs can touch the changes, local residents have also expressed their concerns.
24-year-old Kamila Ochedushko often goes to the post office.
She said, “This is my first time coming to Fancy Kitchen, but I use the parking lot because I go to the post office often.
“Especially when transporting heavy loads, it is useful to park outside.
“I don’t think the bike lane will make a big difference. It’s just a short stretch of road and there is a bike path.
“I think it’s important for people and companies to park here.”
Southampton City Council has been asked for comment.
Author: Maya George