THE DISCOUNTED 20p for three hours car parking rate attracted hundreds more drivers into the heart of Evesham, new figures have revealed.
Council chiefs at Wychavon District Council slashed charges last September in a bid to keep Evesham open for business during the Abbey Bridge closure.
It was part of a package of measures which were introduced for the initial 10 week closure of the bridge but extended when the project fell behind schedule.
After a slow start in September and October, almost 4,500 more used the authority’s car parks in November compared to the same period last year.
A staggering 27 per cent increase was recorded in December while the new year also brought a similar rise as the number of car park users increased from 47,760 in January 2013 to 60,342.
The continuation of the offer after the bridge had formally re-opened also proved popular with 30 per cent increases in use recorded in March and April compared to the same period in 2013.
Despite the figures showing a rise in car park users, Evesham still struggled to attract people into the town and a number of high profile businesses closed their doors.
One of the worst affected was Tiles Naturally on Abbey Road which shut up shop after 20 years because of a lack of trade.
Owner Stuart Brown, said: Sadly, the harsh truth was that drivers were spending up to 25 minutes to get from the Merstow
Green roundabout to the other side of the bridge.
“Nobody other than the totally undeterred, ventured down Abbey Road unless a total necessity.”
Phil Merrick, Head of Community Services at Wychavon said: “We’re pleased to see that the discounts to parking had a very positive impact on numbers in the town.
“To get a better understanding of this we’ve continued a new discount in Bewdley and Chapel Street.
“We will watch with interest to see what impact this has not just on parking figures, but also on footfall to the town and overall impact on car parking income.” he added.
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* THOSE parking figures in full
September 43397 43284
October 51943 51955
November 40479 44971
December 39938 50995
January 47760 60342
February 45000 51282
March 43655 57795
April 45831 57527