TRADERS in the Newtown Road area of Malvern are calling on councillors to loosen restrictions on roadside parking outside their businesses.

Parking is currently restricted to 15 minutes, but this has not been enforced for many years. However, traders fear that when traffic wardens are introduced next month their customers will be put off by any crackdown.

Alison Fish, of David G Fish Carpets, said: “We definitely need parking restrictions of some sort, otherwise the spaces will just get blocked all day, but 15 minutes is just not enough to get anything done. You can't come here and choose carpets for your house in 15 minutes.

“Something like 45 minutes to an hour would be far more suitable.

“It will give our customers a reasonable amount of time, and will also allow turnover during the day.”

Allan Smith, of Aspect Design, said: “Until now, the limit wasn’t an issue but if it’s going to be enforced, then it needs to be changed.

“It will just drive customers elsewhere, and all the businesses along the road will be hurt.”

Town councillor Brian Regimbeau said he supported the businesses’ call for change. He said: “How are they going to enforce it anyway?

“Are they going to have traffic wardens calling at Newtown Road every 15 minutes to check no one’s overstaying the limit? It’s ridiculous.”

Sam Lupino, of clothing shop Cox of Malvern, said: “We have contacted our local county councillor John Raine and he is hopeful that he can get it changed.

“But these things take time, and with the enforcement starting in the middle of next month, we hope the enforcing authority can exercise some discretion.

“As far as we know, this is the only part of Malvern which has a 15-minute limit.”

The traffic wardens will be employed by Malvern Hills District Council but Worcestershire County Council sets parking limits.

Coun John Raine said: “I have been speaking to highways officers and they are sympathetic to the traders’ worries.

“It is in the queue for action, but it will take some time, as there is a statutory process to go through, including consultation and advertising.”

Traders have set up a petition urging the county council to make the change as soon as possible.

Sue Smith, of Aspect Design, said: “There are copies in all the shops, and we are urging all our customers and friends to sign it.

“If it takes up to six months to change the regulations, that’s too long for us.

“The damage will be done by then.”