altThe owner of a local bingo hall in Staffordshire has spoken out about controversial proposals to introduce restrictions on nearby parking spaces, fearing that it will drive away his customers. Andrew Reilly has run Hednesford Bingo since 2008, with the club operating between 11am and midnight, seven days a week. The local council has recently proposed changes to customer car-parking that Mr. Reilly is concerned will cost him valuable business. There are currently 165 spaces outside the club; however, the new plans propose that 121 of them are allocated to the soon-to-be-opened Aldi supermarket at the Chase Gateway retail park, with anyone leaving their vehicle longer than 90 minutes risking a fine. The plans would mean the club’s customers only have the option of using the remaining 44 bays that have no time limit, and with over 2,000 players coming through the doors each week, Mr. Reilly fears that many people will stop coming to play bingo. The building occupies 7,000 square feet, so to have parking for only 40 vehicles is “quite disproportionate,” he says.

So far, at least 199 residents have signed a petition which objects to the changes on the council's website, and Mr. Reilly is due to meet with the council shortly to discuss his concerns in further detail. One of Cannock Chase’s councillors, who is the leader for regeneration within Hednesford, has said that the short-stay proposals were needed in order to bring the supermarket giant into the town, and that the “decision was taken with the best interests of the town centre in mind.” She went on to say that the proposed restrictions will ensure customers of the supermarket, as well as other local shops and services, are able to find somewhere convenient at Chase Gateway to park, and that the short-stay spaces are not just for Aldi shoppers. Ms. Todd stated that the time-restricted bays can be used by anyone visiting Hednesford, and that the remaining 44 non-restricted bays should be sufficient for longer-term parking needs.

As always, we value your opinion. We want to know what form of transport you use to get your local bingo hall. Is parking a problem or is it just too expensive to make it viable for you to attend as often as you’d like? Do you think that smaller businesses should be given the same rights as bigger brands when it comes to offering sufficient car-parking for their customers?