A SHOP owner is urging for more parking in Shaftesbury town centre, as businesses are being “strangled” by the pedestrianisation of the High Street.

As non-essential retailers started reopening their doors on Monday in the latest lift of lockdown measures, Shaftesbury High Street also became a car-free zone.

As previously reported, between 9am and 4pm every day, the High Street between Angel Square and the Grosvenor Arms will be shut to cars.

The idea, originally put forward by Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce, was approved by Shaftesbury Town Council, in a bid to protect shoppers and enable social distancing.

After just two days of the pedestrianisation launch however, Shirley Allum, owner of Shirley Allum Fashions and Lingerie in the High Street, said her business “might as well be closed”.

She said: “I think the chamber and town council have been irresponsible - when they took away around 200 car park spaces from the town centre they should have looked to see where else they could go.

“People like to pop in and go out again so you can’t do that if there isn’t parking, it has affected the whole town.

“If it goes through in four weeks time [plans for permanent pedestrianisation] within a year there won’t be anybody, we definitely won’t be here. This has affected the trade in Shaftesbury dramatically.”

To resolve her lack of parking concerns, Shirley suggested a one-way system through the town, diagonal parking bays, the widening of narrow spaces and a multi-storey car park.

She added: “We are being strangled by this pedestrianisation. Massive concerns have been raised but no one seems to be listening.

“I have never been so demoralised as I have been this week.”

The effect of the pedestrianised High Street will be reviewed weekly by the team behind the project, made up of members from Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce, business owners, town councillors Piers Brown and Phil Proctor and officers from Dorset Council.

After three days of pedestrianisation, Cllr Brown said the project has been "a great success in achieving its main goal - allowing for social distancing and ensuring the public is safe and feel confident to shop".

He added: "It is too early to fully evaluate its success so it is important we gauge feedback from businesses, residents and shoppers. If any businesses have concerns they are my concerns as well.

"We are aiming to support businesses to alleviate any issues they might be experiencing. The business manger and I will be actively gathering feedback from businesses after a full week of trading."

The pedestrianised High Street will be in effect until Sunday, July 12.