Stopping cars from driving along Meneage Street would “kill” shops and be a “catastrophe” for Helston.
This is the view of many of shopkeepers in the street, which have launched a petition against any suggestion to pedestrianise it.
It is already estimated to have attracted in the region of 700 signatures.
The petition objects to an idea raised at a public meeting last autumn, which suggested pedestrianising the street either fully or in part, during certain hours of the day.
Although as yet there is no proposal for any restrictions to be put in place, the suggestion was among the points in questionnaires sent to all homes and businesses in Helston calling for the public’s views on how to spend £250,000 on town improvements.
Brian Shore, owner of Horse & Jockey Bakery, who started the petition, said any pedestrianisation would be a “catastrophe.”
He told the Packet: “There are jobs on the line if they do it. Many businesses would really suffer.
“I employ 22 people, full time, and who is going to carry the can if they do pedestrianise it and half my business, and ten people, go?”
Brian claimed he had spoken to all the businesses in the street and he had only found three that would be in favour of pedestrianising the street.
“My biggest fear is we are going to lose 35 car parking spaces every half an hour. It’s always full. That’s 35 people that come into Helston every half an hour and they won’t go and go to the car park to pay £1 just to buy a pasty or a card,” he added.
Debbie James and Paula Nicholls, from Fruit & Veg 4U, are among the shops urging customers to sign the petition.
Debbie said: “We don’t want the road shut – it would just kill the street. It would be devastating and will shut a lot of shops down, especially little independents like us.”
She added that her shop relied on people parking opposite to run in for their vegetables, which they didn’t want to carry too far. Those that were parked in the car park often drive down past the shop and the staff run the shopping out, but this would not be possible of the road was shut.
Among those signing the petition has been farmer and businessman Bob Cowell, who said: “Trade is very difficult for all the retailers at the moment, but all the restrictions on traffic in Meneage Street would just make the situation worse.
“Is the proposed scheme to make Meneage Street a pedestrian only area just another way of closing the town? “Stop people parking in the street and you will force them to out of town shopping outlets where they can park free of charge and purchase goods under one roof.”
He added that the other day he saw four traffic wardens in the town during one weekday. On another occasion he saw a warden issuing tickets at 9.10am on a Sunday.
Martin Searle, town centre regeneration officer, said: “There aren’t any proposals to pedestrianise the street at the moment.
“Back in the public meeting in October there was quite a bit of support amongst the discussion groups for trying to make Meneage Street Street pedestrian friendly. Because of that the council felt that it had to test public opinion more widely in the questionnaire.
“Although there are a number of detailed questions about Meneage Street that doesn’t mean the council has an agenda towards pedestrianisation. It is an open consultation and we are genuinely interested to hear what both members of the public and business proprietors and manages have to say.”
He added it would nice for the businesses to also give their views about how to improve the town centre.
Suggestions to pedestrianise the street are nothing new – it has been raised on and off for the last 20 to 30 years.