Tension among retailers as Palmerin St closure locked in

A SPECIAL council meeting has done little to ease tensions among councillors and Palmerin St business owners over the March of the Dungarees road closure.

Business owners have been seething since Friday, when the council told them the road would close at 4pm, only to change the time to 2pm.

The council negotiated a 3.30pm closure with the Warwick Chamber of Commerce.

Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley, who called for the special meeting, proposed the road closure be moved back to 4pm.

Cr Bartley said business owners told him there was no consultation.

Feedback from shopkeepers suggested they preferred a 4pm closure.

Cr Vic Pennisi supported the 4pm closure and questioned the council's right to disrupt the busy Christmas retail period.

Business owners have been left in limbo by the timing of the road closure, which has been changed several times in a matter of days.

Anna Cox from A-Ok Clothing said it cost her a lot financially each time the main street was closed.

"As soon as they close the street it costs us," she said.

"A couple of the shopkeepers just close their doors and go home."

Ms Cox said she received no official notification of the road closure from the council.

"I got a brochure from somebody saying it would be 4pm," she said.

"Other than that there's never any consultation from the council."

Councillors were clearly divided on the issue, with several questioning why the matter was brought before them.

Cr Jo McNally said she was against altering the times.

"How is this strategic? Isn't this operational?" she asked.

The 3.30pm closure was passed five votes to three.

Rose City Shoppingworld manager Jason Gard said he was pleased to finally see a resolution on the issue. "This is our busiest retail time of year with Christmas just two weeks away," he said.

"With everyone wanting to get the best they can out of their business it's definitely understandable why people would be concerned."

Southern Downs Regional Council has responded to criticism over the meeting being held in Stanthorpe.

A council spokeswoman said it was held directly before a council briefing that was already scheduled to take place in Stanthorpe.

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