‘It’s so frustrating when you can’t find a parking space...’
After hearing your complaints, Dave Knapper hit the streets of Hanley to discover for himself how difficult it is to find a parking space in the city centre
L ONG-SUFFERING motorists in the Potteries are well versed with congestion, roadworks and potholes.
But workers and shoppers in Hanley have a new annoyance leading to some tight grips of the steering wheel – car parks.
The Sentinel has previously reported how those who have bought a parking pass from Stoke-on-trent City Council have been left frustrated after turning up on a morning to find their car park full.
A finger of annoyance has been pointed at Hinde Street, where pass holders paying hundreds of pounds for the privilege of parking are reportedly spending half-an-hour searching for a space before just giving up.
Things may well get worse for Hinde Street as 50 bays are set to be assigned to guests at the £20 million Hilton Garden Inn, which is due to open later this year.
Nearby John Street multi-storey car park is also a busy location, with anyone arriving after around 9.30am finding themselves ‘on the roof’ – or looking elsewhere.
The city council has, as expected, defended the amount of spaces in Hanley by saying there is enough capacity, and reminding the irked Hinde Street pass holders that they can use other locations.
However, we decided to hit the streets of Hanley to find out how easy it is to find a space in the city centre.
Sentinel Business Editor Laura James says even on a good day it will take her 15 minutes to get parked up.
She said: “The parking in Hanley has been getting progressively worse for about six months.
“I have the option of parking at either Hinde Street or John Street, and on a good day it takes me about 15 minutes to find a parking space.
“It’s really frustrating to have to pay hundreds of pounds a year on a parking pass and not be able to get a space.”
Meanwhile, business owners in Hanley believe the issue of parking needs to be addressed.
Jane Hall is owner of Munchies cafe on Piccadilly. The 58-year-old said: “I think it’s too expensive. Now Clementsons Mill has gone too for another hotel – do we need another hotel?
“I think the parking situation is
putting people off coming in. It needs to be more affordable.”
Melanie Eardley, aged 27, who runs Piccadilly-based salon Altar, said: “The car parks are either full or just really expensive.
“I know you can park on Tesco, but that’s just for a few hours or you are risking a fine. I think there needs to be more spaces, but also for them to be a lot more affordable – especially for people who work in Hanley and are here all day.”
Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage at the city council, defended the parking provision in Hanley – but sympathised with workers facing a walk. He said: “There are over 1,500 parking spaces on a variety of city council car parks within walking distance of shops and businesses in the city centre. We do appreciate that some car parks are a little further away from the main shopping areas than others. With the growth of the Smithfield area, and the full occupancy of both Smithfield buildings, we do understand that this area is particularly popular.
“Busy car parks are a sign of a growing economy and successful city.”
CLOGGED UP: Reporter Dave Knapper trying to find a spot in John Street, and inset, Hinde Street car park. Pictures: Steve Bould