Thatcher promoted lay-bys outside small shops but 30 years later they’re under threat says MP

MP Steve Barclay claimed today that Cambridgeshire County Council was jeopardising a Thatcher Government policy of the 1980s which encouraged lay-bys outside small shops to boost trade.

Mr Barclay’s comments came after he was handed a 400 strong petition from a March shopkeeper who fears a lay-by outside her premises will be lost for ever.

“I recently met with Lucy Bellars, who along with her husband Richard runs the Wisbech Road Post Office in March,” said the MP for NE Cambs.

“She explained that following improvements to the footpath on the Wisbech Road to Russell Avenue the lay-by which has been outside their business for years, and which is relied upon by customers, is not to be reinstated.

“This is worrying for customers, particularly disabled and older customers, not to mention raising safety issues involved loading the cash point adjacent to the lay-by which is located on the wall of their store.”

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Mr Barclay added: “It was under the Thatcher Government in the 1980s that lay-bys’ like this outside businesses were encouraged, as a way of helping increase the number of people using small businesses.

“The idea was to make it easier for customers to park outside and pop in to make a quick purchase.”

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He said the lay-by has been used for years but Charles Bedford of Cambridgeshire Highways had told him that following consultations with Cambridgeshire Police there was “no desire” to have the markings replaced.

Mr Barclay said the 400 names on the petition which was gathered in a matter of days “suggests the view of the county council officers is misplaced”.

A spokesman for the county council said the petition would be discussed at the January meeting of the Fenland Joint Area traffic committee.

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