A MAJOR review of parking charges which could see shoppers and visitors given an hour’s free parking has been hailed a ‘brilliant news’ for Evesham and Pershore.
Council chiefs at Wychavon District Council will debate proposals on Wednesday (June 10) which could see parking pressure eased for long-suffering motorists.
Under the proposals, anyone buying two hours worth of parking on council-owned short stay car parks in Evesham will get a third hour for free.
In Broadway anyone buying three hours of parking will get a fourth hour free and Tony Rowland chairman of the Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association (VECTA) said he welcomed the proposals.
“I think it’s essential the council does everything it can to support businesses and encourage visitors into the town centre,” he said.
“The vision of free car parking will assist with the process and allow the town centre to compete with out of town retail parks
“VECTA whole heartedly supports the proposals and thanks Wychavon District Council for its foresight on this,” he added.
And Fiona Abbott, owner of Three Little Pigs, told the Observer the move was a huge boost which would increase the volume of visitors to Pershore.
“It’s fantastic news if it goes through, I think the traders en-masse have been saying for years we have needed to look at the parking,” she said.
“Each of us have looked at towns in the county and how they do their parking charges and feel there should be a compromise.
“We should still charge for parking but also do everything we can to encourage people to come into the town and see what we have to offer.
“To relieve the clock watching and worry that many visitors face when parking in the town has to be a good thing,” she added.
The recommendation was made by councillors on Wychavon’s Strategic Car Park Review Working Group, which has been looking at how much the council charges for parking, how car parks are managed and potential alternative uses for them.
Councillors have also recommended a trial of payment by mobile phone technology to establish the benefits and costs of such a system.
The potential to develop the council’s car parks for other uses was also examined but the group decided there were currently no obvious options and any future decision would have to consider the impact on parking provision in the area.
In a further boost to motorists, charging for parking of an evening and on Sundays was ruled out by the task force.
If approved during a meeting of Wychavon’s Executive Board, the free hour of parking would be introduced this summer.
Coun Richard Morris, portfolio holder for economy and housing, said: “The introduction of an hour’s free parking is a great incentive to shoppers to come and find out what the district has to offer and spend more time here.”
“While the use of payment by mobile phone technology will make it easier for people to do that.
“We also see no reason to increase the basic £1 per hour tariff over the next four years.
“These proposals strike the right balance between the financial pressures the council is facing and the needs of town centre businesses, car park users and the local economy,” he added.
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