LOADING bays installed in Bath Road have created a dangerous bottleneck for passing traffic, claim some traders.
The concerns come after Gloucestershire Highways built the bays, which are enclosed by a pavement which juts out into the road.
Shop keepers said there had already been one accident and have warned unless something is done to alleviate the problem there could be more.
One trader, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It is terrible. Within a week of it being installed, a vehicle collided with the post on the pavement.
"It has also created lots of queues because motorists are having to pass in single file, giving way to each other, whereas before they could pass in both directions."
The road has long been a problem area for parking, with people frequently stopping illegally on double yellow lines while they pop into the shops to pick up their groceries.
Paul Lewis, manager at the Natural Grocery Store, said the arrival of the loading bays had not been universally well received.
"It has been causing some problems since it came in," he said. "It's very much a bottleneck now.
"I haven't seen any accidents yet – just lots of beeping of horns. But it certainly looks like an error in planning to have that there.
"It is not helped by the fact you've got lots of people parking on double yellow lines which makes it narrower."
Chris Riley, local highways manager for the county council, said the bays had been introduced following consultation with traders.
He said: "The main aim is to improve pedestrian safety because loading and unloading vehicles had previously parked in a way that limited visibility for people crossing the road.
"Secondly, it will accommodate increased access to all nearby businesses for loading vehicles."
There are double yellow lines and a loading ban opposite the bays - enforced by Cheltenham Borough Council.