Clash over café parking plea

Betty Harrison says the cafe is losing business
Betty Harrison says the cafe is losing business

A cafe owner claims she is losing business because of unnecessary parking restrictions.

Betty Harrison wants North Lanarkshire Council to remove markings which were painted on Main Street, Holytown, to discourage drivers from stopping.

She said: “When we opened four years ago there were no markings, but they appeared a few months later.

“A lot of customers stop for only five minutes for a takeaway and the lack of parking definitely affects the business.

“Parking spaces outside have to be shared with customers of other shops and residents. Luckily, a nearby resident lets me park off the road otherwise I would be taking up a space on the street.”

Ms Harrison and partner Ian Docherty say they employ three local girls. In a letter to council chief executive Gavin Whitefield, Mr Docherty wrote: “The council should be helping small businesses rather than have all these shops lying empty.”

The matter came to a head when Mr Docherty was involved in an angry confrontation with Holytown councillor Jimmy Coyle.

Mr Docherty has complained to the council chief executive about Councillor Coyle’s conduct, saying the councillor lost his cool over a ‘tongue in cheek’ remark.

Councillor Coyle admitted he had ordered Mr Docherty to leave his Saturday morning surgery, but insisted that was because his constituent’s behaviour was unacceptable.

The councillor said: “If Mr Docherty had been reasonable when he came to see me, I would have arranged to look at this parking issue. But given his behaviour I won’t be dealing with him again.”

Mr Docherty also complained to Councillor Tom Curley, the Labour group’s business manager, about Councillor Coyle.

But Mr Curley, having spoken to his colleague, said he would take no action. He added: “I’ve known Councillor Coyle for 21 years and this is the first complaint I’ve had against him. As far as I’m concerned the matter is finished.”