A CALL for drivers to think twice before parking outside a shop in Dalston has sparked a debate among villagers.

Suziebou, a gift shop at The Square in the village centre, placed a sign outside the shop asking drivers not to park there if they do not intend to buy from nearby businesses.

It is ‘for the benefit of all the businesses', and the shop is ‘just asking people to think twice, it’s not a demand’, they said.

News and Star: A plea to parkers, written on Suziebou's sign outside the shopA plea to parkers, written on Suziebou's sign outside the shop (Image: Ollie Rawlinson)

A spokesperson from Suziebou told the News & Star that the main issue with parking they have is people using The Square to park their cars for free and then going to the city centre.

“There have been lots of complaints from customers about the parking. There are a lot of people who say they drive on past because they can’t park,” they added.

The view is shared by the manager of the Dalston Fryer, who said it’s ‘been a nightmare’ since summer, and beforehand they were able to park everywhere.

Since then, more cars are being parked at The Square ‘with no care’, she said, adding: “We all got a little bit cross because it’s affecting our spaces as workers to park, and most importantly, it’s affecting the customers, especially elderly and disabled people.”

News and Star: Cars parked at The Square in Dalston, Carlisle, March 22, 2024Cars parked at The Square in Dalston, Carlisle, March 22, 2024 (Image: Ollie Rawlinson)

They added that being able to park close to their business is safer than parking at the green, as when they close at 9pm, carrying a ‘large amount of cash’ might be unsafe when walking that distance.

Mark Stakim, a pharmacist at Dalston Pharmacy in the village, said The Square is used by workers in the city.

“A lot of people drive in, car share, and go into Carlisle.

“I see it as a benefit. I'm not opposed to people parking at The Square and not using the business. If we get rid of it I think it will harm business because you benefit from passive trade.”

A businesswoman in Dalston said since moving her business there from the city centre she’s noticed increased trade because of ‘less faff with parking’.

“We’re extremely lucky to have parking in such abundance with close proximity,” she added, concluding that stoking the issue may prompt authorities to consider making it pay and display, which would be bad for the village.

Cumberland Council confirmed there are no parking restrictions in the area.