"Welcome to Darlington - we don't want you or your customers in our empty town" - anonymous fly-poster targets North-East town (From The Northern Echo)
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"Welcome to Darlington - we don't want you or your customers in our empty town" - anonymous fly-poster targets North-East town
6:32am Saturday 28th June 2014 in News
A DISGRUNTLED resident has plastered a North-East town with posters attacking its council for their parking policies.
Posters spotted across Darlington recently accuse the local authority of creating a ghost town and damaging trade.
The anonymous protestor has created a variety of signs, all illustrated with a picture of a parking ticket.
One says “Welcome to Darlington, we don’t want you or your customers in our empty town” while another says “Welcome to Darlington, we love empty shops”.
A more detailed – and laminated – version found pinned to the Old English Gentleman pub on Bondgate said: “Welcome to Darlington. Darlington Council loves empty shops, Darlington Council hates vehicles, hates customers, hates business. Traffic warden *** is helping make their dreams of a ghost town come true.”
Council leader Bill Dixon described the posters as cowardly and criticised the attack on the individual traffic warden.
He said: “As a town centre we are doing incredibly well and have the lowest rate of vacant shops in the North-East.
“We’ve got enough town centre parking at present. Parking wardens have instructions and take ten minutes to issue a ticket. Where possible, they ask people to move but if someone’s parked illegally, what can they do?
“They might not get it right every time but there’s an appeals procedure for that and they’re human beings like everyone else.”
He added: “This person is running their town centre down which doesn’t help anybody here.
“We have the best performing town centre in the North-East and some of our traders are turning against it and that’s sad.
“This kind of fly-posting is the last thing people need to see and it gives the wrong impression.”
Local trader Beryl Hankin, from the Guru boutique, has been lobbying the council to improve parking for years but says this approach could put more people off visiting the town.
She said: “It smacks of desperation and is probably someone who feels this is the only way to get their message across but it’s not great for the town in general.
“Since pedestrianisation, there’s been a noticeable detrimental difference – if you can’t get cars in, it effects trade.
“Vehicle access is vital to a town’s success. The multi-storey car park being built will help but it will take a long time and a lot of little businesses can’t hold on until then.”