Anger as vans 'can't get close' to shops sparking traffic chaos

Lorry and Mark Hedge inset, on St Benedicts Street

Mark Hedge, owner of Cookes Band Instruments, says lorries having to park far away from their destination is becoming an increasing occurrence on St Benedicts Street - Credit: Mark Hedge/ Danielle Booden

Huge delivery lorries facing extremely tight-squeezes on a busy city centre street "can't get anywhere close" to their destinations because of illegally-parked cars blocking the route.

Mark Hedge, owner of Cookes Band Instruments on St Benedicts Street, claims the amount of delivery drivers having to park half the street away from where they need to be because of cars and hospitality build-outs giving them zero room for manoeuvre is "becoming a joke".

On Tuesday morning, he said one tail lift truck needing to get to Pizza Express could get about as close as Farmyard: a considerable distance from the actual restaurant he was headed for.

Mark Hedge said cars parked on the street early on Tuesday morning stopped the lorry getting to where the driver needed to be

Mark Hedge said cars parked on the street early on Tuesday morning stopped the lorry getting to where the driver needed to be - Credit: Mark Hedge

Mr Hedge, who is worried the traffic "chaos" on the street may ruin Christmas trade, said: "It's a total cock up. I've complained to the council but heard nothing."

Trade has already taken too much of a dip for some businesses to continue, with Cookes Pianos recently announcing it was quitting the street entirely and moving to Cambridge.

The council was approached for comment.

And it's not just delivery lorries struggling to get past.

One electric wheelchair user, who did not want to be named, said: "My wheelchair is only meant for the pavement, and almost every time I go along there there's a car mounting half of it, leaving me very little room to get past. 

St Benedicts will continue to have outside dining areas down the street.
Mark Hedge, manager of Cook

Mark Hedge said he is deeply worried about Christmas trade if the council doesn't improve the traffic situation - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"I've also seen people with mobility scooters struggle. As far as I'm concerned the whole street should have been left as it was."

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For many businesses on the street, it is not the traffic restrictions on the road which are the problem, but the fact the council is not sending wardens to enforce them, and to stop cars illegally parking in loading bays designed for deliveries. 

David Potter at The Bicycle Shop restaurant said in a previous statement that having traffic wardens would be "very useful".

He explained: "There are loading bays outside the restaurant, but they're being used as parking bays by some people. That has frustrated a few of my deliveries.

A lorry struggled to get past parked cars on St Benedict's Street on Wednesday, September 8

A lorry struggled to get past parked cars on St Benedict's Street on Wednesday, September 8 - Credit: Mark Hedge

"We're in a transitionary period because of the move to permanent pedestrianisation, and it would be helpful if the council could send some wardens to help us navigate that."

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