New paid parking rules force closure of businesses as retailers fume

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ANOTHER store in Melbourne has been forced to shut because council parking restrictions have driven away customers.

Bev Aisbett said the installation of parking meters were largely to blame for her closing down her Yarraville shop Piece Gallery, in the citys inner west.

The meters have created this exodus from the village; Im the third business in my pocket to go in the past month because there is no foot traffic, Ms Aisbett said.

I was only making $80 a week if I was lucky and there were days I couldnt be bothered opening.

Im now facing a big debt and it is rather terrifying to have this hanging over my head.

Its the second story this week of lack of parking causing problems for small business owners.

Leader revealed on Tuesday that Steven Patruno, owner of Essendons Brickmakers Arms restaurant, made the upsetting decision to close the business because customers stopped coming after Moonee Valley Council brought in one-hour parking restrictions on Brewster St in December last year.

Tensions have been running high in Yarraville since the council introduced paid parking in August.

They have been vandalised several times and two weeks two councillors were attacked at a Maribyrnong Council meeting.

Angry scenes at Footscray Town Hall after Maribyrnong councillors vote to keep paid parking meters in Yarravillle

Now Councillor Sarah Carter will push for a temporary halt in parking fees in order for the council to reassess the impact of the meters on traders and neighbouring residents before a vote in February to decide the machines fate.

Cr Carter has successfully called for a special council meeting, which will be held at 3pm next Friday, December 4.

She said she was confident the motion would pass.

We need to move on this quickly to give the traders some relief, Cr Carter said.

It is not an olive branch but it is us reaching a middle ground.

We need to give the traders some breathing space over Christmas because there is no doubt in my mind that they are hurting.

Cornershop owner Iain Munro, who is down 20 per cent in trade, said the Christmas period was make or break for small business.

There are businesses here that rely on the bumper times of Christmas shopping to survive, he said.

We have already seen a drastic drop in foot traffic around the village.

Cr Carter said it was also a chance for the council to mend the wedge that had been created among councillors since the meters were flagged 16 months ago.

The standoff cant continue and we need to find a way forward, she said.