Businesses across Knutsford believe the decision by Cheshire East Council to block parking spaces in the town centre is having a detrimental effect on the area.
Asked by Tatton MP Esther McVey whether blocking parking spaces off to help social distancing was a good idea just 17 per cent of businesses questioned thought it was a good idea and necessary.
Ms McVey said: “I was told was this was needed because the footpaths are too narrow and with traffic coming through the town it can be hard to move to allow people to pass. While we all accept social distancing is important, the barriers make it look as though the town is closed rather than open for business. Whilst a few have been taken down in recent days it’s a case of too little, too late.
“It looks as if road works are being carried out and some people have gone elsewhere to shop. We need to do everything possible to support businesses recover from the pandemic and it is clear from responses I have received from businesses that owners think it is having a detrimental impact.
“The barriers in place trap people on the pavement and so you have to keep walking until there is a gap in the barrier or able to cross the road, which is counterproductive to social distancing. In addition, it means the elderly or disabled cannot pull up outside shops as there are limited disabled spaces and it needs resolving. I have made this very clear to the Council and will be doing so again, highlighting the concerns of local businesses.”
The findings came from a survey sent by Ms McVey asking businesses their views on how Government supported them throughout the pandemic and what more needs to be done to keep staff in jobs as the country begins to reopen.
Ms McVey wants to know what measures would help support their workforce, not only to retain the current staffing levels but expand in future.
She is asking businesses to fill in a detailed survey focusing on the pandemic and the recovery from Covid-19.
Ms McVey said: “Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an unprecedented package of support to put staff on furlough at the start of the pandemic and now as we move into our economic recovery, we need to ensure the voices of business are heard. The Conservative Party is the party of business and I want Government to understand the needs of our local businesses and to understand what further support they might need to ensure they are in an environment where they can thrive.”
The surveys will be sent to businesses across Wilmslow, Rudheath, Handforth, Mobberley, and Alderley Edge as well as Knutsford.
Questions being asked of the business owners range from how concerned they are about the future of their businesses, how to they expect staffing levels to change over the coming 12 months and what should and could be introduced to help retain staff.