Shops 'losing customers' after Wolverhampton cycle lane installed without warning

A city centre trader has expressed his frustration at the new additions to the road outside his business.

Gurdeep and Harjeet Gill outside The Red House. Mr Gill said he wasn't happy about the cycle lanes because of the issues it was causing customers
Gurdeep and Harjeet Gill outside The Red House. Mr Gill said he wasn't happy about the cycle lanes because of the issues it was causing customers

Gurdeep Gill, who owns the Red House fashion shop in Wolverhampton, has said he is unhappy about the implementation of a cycle path outside his shop on Victoria Street.

The cycle lane runs along the length of the street along the street and, at present, has cones along both sides.

The Red House will well known to families in the city, having provided school uniforms for generations down the years.

Mr Gill said he felt the new cycle lane was not being used enough and it was causing problems for people wishing to visit the shop.

He said: "A number of our customers are elderly and, in some cases, disabled and can only walk so far, so they would usually have someone drop them off outside to make their lives easier.

"Since this lane has been put here, it's caused them a lot of problems as they can't stop outside any more and it makes it difficult for them to use the shop as they're having to walk longer distances.

"It's not just frustrating for me, but for other shops on this road, as they're having the same problems and are losing customers as a result."

The 56-year-old also said he hadn't been consulted by Wolverhampton Council about the cycle lane and the cones.

He said: "No one has come to speak to me about this and I am very frustrated as I feel this is something we should have been asked about.

The cones are visible on both sides, leaving one lane of traffic

"We took over this shop in 2017 and it's been here for longer than I can remember, so I'm just disappointed that they didn't come to speak to me about this.

"It's not just for me, it's also bad for trade as lots of shops around here have closed down and we need all the footfall we can get."

Wolverhampton Council director for city environment, Ross Cook, said: "We continue to do all we can to support Wolverhampton businesses and The Red House, like many other city retail businesses, has received a critical business grant to help weather the economic impact of the pandemic.

"In line with Government guidance, we introduced emergency traffic measures in the city centre back in June on a temporary basis to see how successful they would be to keep people safer through easier social distancing and by encouraging people to walk and cycle more.

"We successfully bid for funding from the Government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) to implement these schemes and the overall feedback is that they work.

"People have found it easier to socially distance with widened footways, the cycle lanes have made it safer to use a bike and the one-way traffic system has not caused delays to buses.

"Local businesses tell us that they want an attractive environment to help bring people back.

"Therefore, we used the rest of the EATF funding to make the trial measures more suitable over the longer term, also making some environmental improvements through the installation of planters full of greenery, seating areas outside some businesses and bike storage.

"Currently, there is a loading bay close to The Red House on the opposite side of Victoria Street, which was previously coned off but is now available.

"The future public realm works that businesses have been consulted on, will also include a loading bay on Salop Street, very close to the entrance of The Red House.”

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