FRUSTRATED business owners have organised a meeting with a local councillor to challenge parking changes on a city centre road.

Traders on Castle Street in Carlisle say the changes will exacerbate already challenging conditions for high street retailers. Signs were installed last week, replacing a stretch of disc zone with residential parking spaces.

Cumbria County Council says the changes were subject to a consultation process in 2016, which was designed to offer more parking provision for residents living in and around the street in question.

Sean Wright, who owns the Cumbria Tech shop on Castle Street, said he has one overriding emotion about the changes: “Anger. There was a Facebook post and, from the comments, it is obviously not just me who is upset.

“A lot of other people use the town and that use the street, that are upset about it.

“With the issue of the Central Plaza, different works going on in Warwick Road and two to three other things - everyone is bottlenecked trying to get into town.

“If all those streets were opened back up again and parking was back to two sides of the street, people would be able to get through rather than walking miles away from the car parks, and there would be more space to park.

“It seems that with parking changes in the city centre, it’s just getting worse.”

Steve Matthews, who runs the Bookends store on Castle Street, continued: “This is more chipping away at retail in the city centre. It certainly adversely affects us, as we have people parking to unload books. They make it impossible for them.

“I know they have issues with needing to provide residential parking, but there is also a need for it to be suitable for others and the economic health of the city.”

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: “The county council carried out a full and comprehensive public consultation over two years (2016 – 2018) on proposed changes to parking within the Zone C and the historic quarter of Carlisle.

“This information was publicised online, through local media and at dedicated public drop in events, where people could discuss and provide feedback on the proposals – we received more than 100 responses to the consultation.

“This feedback was considered and approved by the Carlisle Local Committee in March 2019, with the changes and necessary signage becoming active on November 25.”

A drop-in session will be held at Cumbria Tech on Monday at 5pm, with Cumbria County Councillor for the Castle ward, Alan McGuckin.