FIRMS in Southbourne have expressed concern after parking bays were seized by the council for a new ‘car club’ scheme.

The parking bays were painted over three weeks ago at locations across Bournemouth for the Co-Wheels project, which aims to allow residents and visitors to hire a car at their convenience.

However, Martin Conerney, owner of Avant Garde hair salon, which has entrances on Seabourne Road and Parkwood Road, is angry that residents were not consulted.

“No one has parked in the spaces on Parkwood Road since it was done,” he added. There is a car park round the corner which is never more than a quarter full. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have used that.”

“The council never sent us a letter telling us what was happening. Parking in Soutbourne is hard enough as it is.”

Ian Kalra, head of transport at Bournemouth council, said: “The bays are being promoted through an experimental Traffic Regulation Order in place for six months during which time residents and businesses will have the opportunity to raise concerns.

“We want to make travel in Bournemouth more accessible by offering people more choices such as Co-Wheels Car Club.

“Such schemes will help reduce car ownership and in the long term will reduce congestion and improve the environment.”

Director of Co-Wheels, Pierre Fox, said: “Co-wheels provides members the opportunity to book a car for as little as half an hour, with access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The cars need to be in locations such as high streets. Dedicated parking bays are currently being implemented.”