BOURNEMOUTH council has failed to address Westbourne's parking problems, say traders.

As reported in the Daily Echo in January, businessowners said visitors to the area have been struggling to find spaces as LV= staff are forced to use the Milburn Road long-stay car park.

The chair of the Westbourne Business Association Lia Martin said steps were being taken to resolve the issue.

However, five months on, Justin Brandon of Scape Interiors West Ltd in the Arcade said not enough has been done.

"I shook hands with [council leader] John Beesley over the parking issue and he said it would be dealt with," he said.

"It's a huge problem for us. Every day at 8.30am the car parks are full. Our customers don't have anywhere to park.

"During the week, footfall has dropped by up to 48 per cent, and it's back to normal on a Saturday because the car parks are free again."

More than 2,000 members of staff are employed at the LV= head office, which is based at the County Gates roundabout.

Members of the public told the Echo trips to the area are now "a thing of the past" as a result of the pressures on parking,

One Bournemouth resident said: “The Milburn Road car park behind Iceland is full by 8.30am.

"I tried three times to visit Westbourne and park and had to turn around and drive home."

Westbourne has two short stay car parks in Alumhurst Road and Landseer Road which offer a total of 151 spaces.

Drivers can park for a maximum of four hours, with no return within two hours. Permits are not available for either.

As a result, changes were made to the Milburn Road car park since the complaints, with a long stay area converted into short stay spaces.

However, Mr Brandon said the additional 40 spaces provided through the scheme are "tucked away behind the medical centre".

"You wouldn't know they were there unless you'd been told," he said.

"It's a scandal. How are businesses meant to survive?"

LV= employees are encouraged to find alternative ways of travelling to work, including using park and ride schemes, cycling and walking.

Discounted Yellow Buses season tickets are also offered.

Gary Powell, head of traffic management at Bournemouth council, said: “From a total of 394 car park spaces in Westbourne, there are 191 short stay spaces and 203 long stay.

"The high street is also served by a large number of on-street short stay parking spaces, meaning that overall Westbourne is served by a very reasonable parking provision for visitors.

"It is recognised that the car parks are very busy and this is a reflection of the popularity of Westbourne as a shopping destination.”