A SHOP owner in Whitley Bay is set to close her doors and relocate to another town outside the borough in protest at parking problems.
Businesswoman Marianne Luke, who owns Tickled Pink shop Station Road, is blaming the council for not giving businesses and customers incentives to come to the town.
The 18-year-old, who opened the store nine months ago, said: “I live in Whitley Bay and wanted to open a shop here, and when this shop became available it was a perfect opportunity.
“But since I have been open I’ve found there are problems with parking, for both me and my customers.
“There doesn’t seem to be anything done by the council to encourage people to come into the town centre and shop.
“I don’t think people have an issue with having to pay for parking, but the wardens are so strict if you are a couple of minutes over they issue a fine straight away and it really does put people off.”
Ms Luke has now taken the decision to leave the town and open her adult shop in Blyth.
She said: “It’s under a different authority and seems a much busier town centre, there are a wide variety of shops there, and where I will be based in Bowe Street there is an Argos, Wilkinsons and Morrisons right next to me, so there will always be plenty of people around.
“There are three free car parks for customers, which is a massive bonus.
“Leaving Whitley Bay and moving to Blyth will benefit the business.”
The shop now has a sign in the window making customers aware of the relocation.
But Ms Luke is keen to point out she has nothing against the people of Whitley Bay.
She said: “I live here, I would have loved to have done well, but it has been made impossible to survive, and the council are making so much revenue off parking fines.
“Whitley Bay was well known for being a seaside resort but you can’t even go and get an ice cream along the beach without being charged for parking.”
A North Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “Supporting the success and vibrancy of our town centres, including Whitley Bay, is a priority for the council, and we’ve done a lot of work, especially in the last three years, to support local traders and encourage visitors to our town centres.
“This has included working very closely with businesses and the Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade to deliver a parking strategy for the town which strikes a beneficial balance between the parking needs of businesses, residents and visitors, and this work has been welcomed by the chamber.
“Parking at Station Road is charged at just 1p per minute.
“The charge is necessary as this a busy area which experiences high demand for parking spaces, particularly at peak times.
“Visitors who aren’t able to park there are encouraged to use other spaces, including those in the adjacent public car park, which are completely free of charge.
“Parking restrictions are there for a reason, and we will enforce those restrictions where necessary to ensure the safety of all road users and to ensure good traffic flow.
“If a Civil Enforcement Officer sees a parked vehicle that may be loading or unloading, they will give a minimum of a five minute observation time to private vehicles and 20 minutes to commercial delivery vehicles before a Penalty Charge Notice is served.
“Anyone who receives a Penalty Charge Notice has the right to appeal.”