Red route traffic restrictions on the Stratford Road in Sparkbrook, Birmingham are having a devastating effect on businesses, a new report reveals. But
similar red route restrictions have been hailed a success further along
the same road in Shirley, according to the latest impact study. The scheme, introduced in April, means that parking is not allowed at any time and that loading is severely limited.
The report by Dr Jonathan Scott of Aston Business School and Dr Javed Hussain of Birmingham City University calls for the scheme to be abolished, but does offer some short term solutions while alternatives are sought.
on a survey of 110 businesses in the red route area, the report found
that 88% of the firms who responded felt the red route had caused a loss
of customers because of the lack of parking. 77% of those think that
they will have to reduce their staffing levels as a result. This could
mean as many of 110 local people losing their jobs.
to some businesses, problems of parking and vehicle access are being
exacerbated by the intimidating behaviour of parking attendants, and some believe this is creating a real climate of fear that contributes to keeping customers away.
Dr Jonathan Scott of Aston University said “There are significant physical differences between the Stratford Road in Sparkbrook and in Shirley.
to the city, the properties are denser and closer to the carriageway,
leaving no space for off road parking, whilst in suburban Shirley, there
is more space for parking, including three dedicated car parks. We
believe this is the fundamental reason that the red route is having
negative impact for Sparkbrook businesses. People need to be able to
park where they shop, and if they can’t, they’ll go elsewhere.”
report also criticises Birmingham City Council and the consultants
employed to implement the scheme for lack of consultation with
businesses likely to be affected.
Scott added “we believe that the economy of this deprived area as a
whole has been damaged, as numbers of customers have decreased, and overall
sales have been as a result reduced. It appears that employment figures
will also be impacted upon which only serves to negatively affect the local economy and an already fragile community.”
from the report that could immediately relieve some of the red route
problems include the introduction of variable enforcement hours, instead
of the current 24 as well as major support for affected businesses from
regional stakeholders including Advantage West Midlands, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Business Link West Midlands.
Notes to editors
Red routes are major roads in urban areas, on which stopping (even to load or unload a vehicle) is prohibited
or only allowed during very restricted periods at times displayed on
nearby signs. The intention is to enhance the flow of commuter traffic. The routes are marked with continuous red lines painted along the road adjacent to the kerb.
Information on red routes in the west midlands can be found at http://www.westmidlandsltp.gov.uk/redroutes.php?id=2493