Traders' hopes for Christmas changes to parking times
Long-awaited changes to controversial 30-minute parking restrictions on key Workington town centre streets could be in place by Christmas.
Plans to introduce one-hour parking in Murray Road and Finkle Street were revealed by the county council in January.
In May councillors agreed they should extend the waiting times on the two street, while retaining 30-minute restrictions on Warwick Place, John Street and Peter Street, following feedback from residents. A new half-hour parking area is set to be introduced on Roper Street.
Now the county council is formally advertising the planned changes.
People have three weeks to comment on the plans, which will then go before the council's Allerdale local committee for final approval before they are implemented.
The next meeting a decision could be made at is scheduled for December 5 and Councillor Alan Barry, who is on the committee, said he hoped the changes could be brought in by the week before Christmas.
He said: "Christmas week hopefully people will be able to park for an hour. I'm keen to see it happen because the businesses have asked for it.
"We can only take it from the businesses that they say they're suffering because of the half-hour parking."
Business owners such as Alan Moore, of Intrim Fitness, on Upton Street, have been campaigning against the 30-minute restrictions since they were first proposed in 2007.
He welcomed the plans when they were revealed earlier this year but said he was frustrated that it was taking so long to implement the changes.
He added: "It's quite obvious that the situation has got to alter to increase a little bit of trade in the town centre.
"If they'd got it in two Christmases ago it would have been a lot better.
"It's frustrating because it didn't take them that long to take it away."
Mr Moore even offered pay to change the signs if it would help move the plans along.
Mandie Akitt, who owns K2 Fashion in Murray Road, said she was still not convinced the changes would go ahead.
She said: "It would benefit all the traders in town if it came in in time for Christmas. Why it hasn't been done before now I don't know because it's been flagged up every year since it changed."
A spokesman for the county council said: "Allerdale local committee only agreed to proceed to the formal advertisement stage following the initial consultation back in May.
"This has now been prepared and the legal aspect of the changes are being advertised.
"Unfortunately this is the process we have to follow so is no quicker or slower than any other changes.
"The local committee will then be able to decide whether to approve the implementation taking into account any formal representations which may be received."