East Gate parking problem puts future of Llanelli café at risk
A LLANELLI café owner has said she may be forced to shut up shop due to the impact of East Gate workers parking outside her property.
Tracy Webb, owner of Whispers café on Swansea Road, claims contractors from the nearby development are clogging the surrounding streets, leading to a big decline in trade.
The 31-year-old, of Burry Port, said the café had been very successful over the past three years, but all she had built up was now in jeopardy due to the parking problems.
"It is having a big effect on trade," said Ms Webb.
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"I have been thinking about closing the doors — it is just getting worse."
She said some of her most loyal punters were not coming through the doors anymore as a result.
"All of my elderly customers, for example, say they cannot come anymore as there is nowhere around for them to park," said Ms Webb.
"Christmas is coming up which is usually my best time trading, but at the moment it is having a dramatic impact and I'm worried it will spoil that too.
"I am turning up to work in the morning and even I'm having trouble parking.
"It would be nice if the council could reach a deal and agree to let the workers park behind the development, in the multi- storey car park near the Tinopolis buildings."
Llanelli councillor Bill Thomas also called for urgent action to tackle the problem, which appeared to be worsening, voicing concerns that emergency service vehicles may struggle to get through.
He added: "I think the contractors parking there is a public nuisance."
A Carmarthenshire Council spokesman pointed out that anyone could park where they liked, provided there was no traffic regulation order in place.
He added: "There are few workers now at East Gate with the £26 million scheme reaching completion, and most contractors there over the past two years have been accommodated within the site — on ground that will be the new East Gate public car park, with 239 spaces opening within a month.
"The multi-storey car park at Tinopolis is privately owned and we could not direct anyone to park there."
A recent survey of all car parks in Llanelli had shown, he said, that they were underused and never filled to capacity.
The spokesman added: "It must be reiterated the council has no control of on-street parking where there is no regulation and we would not direct motorists to these streets. They would, however, be told where the public car parks are."