BOSCOMBE businesses will be hit hard by council plans to remove town centre parking spaces, a bar owner has claimed.

Harry Seccombe, owner of Chaplins in Christchurch Road, said proposed changes to both the number of bays and waiting times between the precinct and the Crescent will see shops there lose out.

As part of its ‘shared space’ vision for the area, Bournemouth Borough Council has proposed to remove all on-road parking spaces in that stretch of road, replacing them with fewer bays built into pavements.

“There are four supermarkets and a 24-hour shop, which are all very busy, and their customers rely on the half hour parking spaces,” said Mr Seccombe, who is also vice-chairman of Boscombe Forum.

“Here at Chaplins we have live music seven days a week and our bands need to be able to unload outside. They don’t want to be carrying heavy, expensive equipment through the streets.

“It is no good trying to regenerate the precinct while degenerating businesses here. People use cars and we aren’t going to turn Boscombe around by making it impossible to park here.”

Responding to Mr Seccombe, council traffic engineer Chris Parkes said there would be a loading only bay across from Chaplins and the number of spaces was only reduced by three.

“This proposed order is part of the process to implement the Boscombe Regeneration Scheme, which aims to make Boscombe a more attractive and vibrant place for those who live in, work in and visit the area,” he said.

However Mr Seccombe said he believed that there were five or six parking spaces going through the plans and that the loading bays would be abused by some people popping into the shops.

He was also concerned with how the council had handled the consultation on the plans.

“My concern is that the council hasn’t really engaged at all, none of the businesses around here know about these plans.

“I have heard nothing about them at the business association or the forum,” he said.

“Many of these businesses have foreign owners for whom English is a second language and they don’t understand the process.

“Consulting them needed personal contact from the council.”