BOSSES at businesses in Darwen town centre are calling on council chiefs to remove restrictions on the main road which they say will affect trade.

Last week, the Lancashire Telegraph reported how Liberal Democrat councillors were angry about closure of the bays on Market Street and Duckworth Street to create pedestrian walkways with ‘keep apart’ signage.

Darwen East’s Cllr Paul Browne and Cllr Roy Davies believed removing parking spaces, especially disabled one, would deter shoppers from coming back to the town centre.

Now Debbie Hurley Wilson, who works at microbrewery Bird in Th’Hand, on Duckworth Street, which has operated as a off-licence with a takeaway service since the start of lockdown, has hit out at the latest restrictions.

She said: “It is ridiculous that they have put cones out on the bays on the street and it will stop people parking there. The reason they have done it is to put the barriers up so that when the shops reopened and there were people queuing outside people could walk around the queues.

“We are Darwen, it is not like we have got Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, or Zara. The shops in town rely on passing trade and won’t be getting that if you cannot park on the road

“The only queues are for the banks and Boots, but they have been open all this time anyway.

“There is a florist at the bottom of the street and they are struggling to find anywhere to park for deliveries so they are having to carry everything.

“Nobody needs the social distancing measures, if people can’t social distance by themselves then there is something wrong. The street is empty and they are going somewhere else to shop.”

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said: “We all need to play our part in social distancing as the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic but it’s also vital that we support all of our local businesses. I have now received a welcome assurance from the council that they have made additional disabled parking provisions and that these changes are only temporary.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s growth boss said: “We have been instructed by the Government to help people feel safe when they are shopping.

“A lot of people are coming into the town centre for the first time in three months and the council are doing what they can to make them feel safe and if they don’t feel safe they will not come again. We make no apologies for making changes to make people safe.”

“If people are pushing past each other in a queue on the pavement then they are not following the scientific and Government advice to stay safe.”