Anger over plans to close free car parks in Chesterfield

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Chesterfield businesses and residents have criticised plans to close two car parks in the town.

Council chiefs have launched a consultation on proposals to close the Duke Street and Chapel Street car parks in Whittington Moor and sell off the land.

However, shopkeepers on nearby Sheffield Road are concerned their customers will be unable to find parking spaces while they visit businesses in the area.

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One business owner said in a letter to Chesterfield Borough Council: “This change will affect my business and many more in the area most severely due to an inability of customers to park, not to mention my and other business owners’ ability to park in order to run that business.”

The car park on Duke Street, Whittington Moor, could be closed.The car park on Duke Street, Whittington Moor, could be closed.
The car park on Duke Street, Whittington Moor, could be closed.

He added that the proposal will ‘have the effect of suppressing the rest of the business community on Whittington Moor’.

“Surely a fair and caring council will consider what’s best for the majority of businesses in these hard times, not to mention the short-sighted policy of off-loading assets with no regard to future requirements,” he said.

Dawn Lomas, 47, who was using the Duke Street car park this week, said closing the facilities would make it more difficult to shop at businesses on Sheffield Road.

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“I had no idea there were plans to close them and it does sound like bad news for the businesses here,” she said.

“I’d probably just keep driving elsewhere or go into town if it was easier. It’s all about making things easier if you want to attract more custom.”

Chesterfield Borough Council says it has carried out a review of its car parks and these sites are ‘surplus to requirements’.

The car parks and a disabled toilet on the site cost the council more than £7,000 each year but provide no income.

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Councillor Terry Gilby, the authority’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “This is an ongoing consultation and I welcome residents, shoppers and business owners to share their comments with the council.

“The consultation runs until March 24. More information is available on the council’s website and by calling 01246 345460.

“Any representations should be sent to Mr G Rogers, Town Hall, Rose Hill, Chesterfield, S40 1LP.”