Appalling parking problems, lousy internet and sky-high overheads are all forcing the city centre’s only independent optician to eye up a move to another area.
Hammond and Dummer owners Claire and Bob Ranger have practiced in the CBX2 building in Midsummer Boulevard since 1994, paying thousands a month in rent, rates and service charges.
“We’ve put up with a painfully slow internet connection but it’s the ever-worsening parking problems that have really pushed us over the edge,” said Bob.
He said every other customer now complains they couldn’t find anywhere to park closer than two or three streets away.
The problem deepened earlier this year when MK Council turned the premium rate parking around the CBX into spaces for permit holders only – all filled by workers by 8am.
On top of this, the store has been forced to pay thousands for personal fibre broadband because the area’s download speed of less than 1.5mb made it impossible to access patients’ online records.
Bob, whose family-run store sells bespoke spectacles at up to £10,000 a pair, is also convinced footfall has markedly reduced at the entire city centre.
He said: “We have four or five years left on our lease, but we’re contemplating not renewing it and moving to somewhere away from CMK.
“Milton Keynes, built for the car, is now an enemy of vehicles. It’s also becoming the enemy of businesses, driving them away with exorbitant, almost non existent parking. It is not a good situation.”