Traders hit by closure of Regent Circus car park

This Is Wiltshire: Antoinette Kerrigan, of Byron’s Bar, at the bottom of Victoria Road Antoinette Kerrigan, of Byron’s Bar, at the bottom of Victoria Road

SHOPS, pubs and restaurants have seen a dramatic loss of trade since the closure of the car park in Regent Circus.

The car park, which was adjacent to the site of the old Swindon College building, has been closed for more than a year and business owners said their turnover had significantly reduced.

They are calling on the council to ease parking or reduce business rates in the area to help them until a new £50m leisure complex is built.

Antoinette Kerrigan, landlady of Byron’s Bar, in Byron Street, said: “Business has been dire. My business is down by half.

“Since they’ve started work and put up the boards around the site I feel like a sheep. I’m penned in and no one can see the bars here.

“I’ve lost all my walk-in trade and we’ve had to stop doing food. We used to get a bit from workmen at the end of the day, but everyone just drives past because there is nothing. Even the little bit of road outside has double yellow lines and the wardens are on you in a flash.”

Antoinette has contacted the council but has received no help.

“I’ve tried asking for a reduction in business rates but was told it would take two years. It feels like nobody cares,” she said.

Work on the leisure complex is due to start soon, with the aim of being completed in April 2014, but businesses in Victoria Road fear they may not last until then.

Nikki Legg, the manager of The Giant Party Shop, said: “Since the car park has gone, trade has gone.

“We have customers asking where to park and I have to tell them there is nothing nearby. “The only spaces close are loading bays that can only be used for five minutes.”

On top of the car park closure, Nikki said her business was hit by the closure of Victoria Road.

“The road was closed in October which hit business really hard over Halloween and firework night,” she said.

“Trade was a tenth of what it is normally for that period.

“It seems like one thing after another and we don’t get any help. There are double yellow lines everywhere and our rates have not dropped.

“The length of time being taken to get started on the leisure complex is also raising concerns.

“I think that when the development is complete it’ll be really good, but that seems to keep getting put back,” she said.

A Swindon Council spokesman said: “The council was asked to close the car park last year by the developer so the demolition of the Swindon College could take place.

“We are not aware of any approaches to the council regarding changing some of the parking restrictions in the area, although we appreciate there has been some impact on local businesses as a result of the car park closure.

“However, the development with associated parking will greatly enhance the Regents Circus area and deliver a huge boost to local businesses when complete.

“Our options for delivering additional car parking spaces in the meantime are limited, but there is short-stay parking in Durham Street and Euclid Street and pay and display parking a few minutes’ walk away in a number of our multi storey car parks.”

Comments (10)

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9:37am Wed 20 Mar 13

Al Smith says...

Has the landlady of Byron's considered opening up early and selling tea, coffee, breakfasts and takeaway bacon sarnies to the builders (when building work actually starts)?
Has the landlady of Byron's considered opening up early and selling tea, coffee, breakfasts and takeaway bacon sarnies to the builders (when building work actually starts)? Al Smith
  • Score: 0

10:01am Wed 20 Mar 13

A.Baron-Cohen says...

When the Leisure Project is completed, the competition in the area will be too much for her business.
When the Leisure Project is completed, the competition in the area will be too much for her business. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: 0

10:18am Wed 20 Mar 13

RichardR1 says...

Most building sites of this size will have their own conteens with cheap food. So the lady opening early will just see an increase in her overheads and little if any increase in income.
Most building sites of this size will have their own conteens with cheap food. So the lady opening early will just see an increase in her overheads and little if any increase in income. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

10:41am Wed 20 Mar 13

Eastcott says...

I see the BBC are reporting that work is to begin on the new leisure complex in May- http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-england-wil
tshire-21853009 Maybe the Evening Advertiser didn't get the memo.
I see the BBC are reporting that work is to begin on the new leisure complex in May- http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-england-wil tshire-21853009 Maybe the Evening Advertiser didn't get the memo. Eastcott
  • Score: 0

11:43am Wed 20 Mar 13

Al Smith says...

RichardR1 wrote:
Most building sites of this size will have their own conteens with cheap food. So the lady opening early will just see an increase in her overheads and little if any increase in income.
Really? I ask because the only canteens I've seen on building sites recently were adapted shipping containers with seating and a microwave. No on-site catering seem to be provided unless a bloke with a burger van turns up or there happens to be one there already.
[quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: Most building sites of this size will have their own conteens with cheap food. So the lady opening early will just see an increase in her overheads and little if any increase in income.[/p][/quote]Really? I ask because the only canteens I've seen on building sites recently were adapted shipping containers with seating and a microwave. No on-site catering seem to be provided unless a bloke with a burger van turns up or there happens to be one there already. Al Smith
  • Score: 0

4:57pm Wed 20 Mar 13

twasadawf says...

The council are aware of no approach's regarding the car parking problem ,the council are not aware of anything other than the nonsense inside there tiny mind,if you are looking for a laugh have a look at the patchwork tarmac repairs they are making outside the wyvern theater you couldn't make it up,looks like kid's jigsaw puzzle
The council are aware of no approach's regarding the car parking problem ,the council are not aware of anything other than the nonsense inside there tiny mind,if you are looking for a laugh have a look at the patchwork tarmac repairs they are making outside the wyvern theater you couldn't make it up,looks like kid's jigsaw puzzle twasadawf
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Wed 20 Mar 13

faatmaan says...

but its amazing a road could be fully relaid properly with tar at the weekend, where ? outside the council offices in beckhampton street, no pot hole filling there !, as for Byrons bar, surely its clentele would hardly need car parking if it is alcohol they sell ?
but its amazing a road could be fully relaid properly with tar at the weekend, where ? outside the council offices in beckhampton street, no pot hole filling there !, as for Byrons bar, surely its clentele would hardly need car parking if it is alcohol they sell ? faatmaan
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 21 Mar 13

Tim Newroman says...

It was the lack of parking that saw La Hore having to close. A real shame, it was an excellent curry house.
It was the lack of parking that saw La Hore having to close. A real shame, it was an excellent curry house. Tim Newroman
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Thu 21 Mar 13

twasadawf says...

Hopefully they will pick up the construction trade come may
Hopefully they will pick up the construction trade come may twasadawf
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Thu 21 Mar 13

John Smith II says...

At the risk of sounding harsh, well planned robust businesses that rely on adjacent car parking for trade will ensure that they select premises that allow them to offer this service to their customers. If you choose to take on premises that can not offer parking to your customers (presumably at a lower rent than premises that could) then you have to accept that your business is at the mercy of other car parking providers.
At the risk of sounding harsh, well planned robust businesses that rely on adjacent car parking for trade will ensure that they select premises that allow them to offer this service to their customers. If you choose to take on premises that can not offer parking to your customers (presumably at a lower rent than premises that could) then you have to accept that your business is at the mercy of other car parking providers. John Smith II
  • Score: 0

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