By Carl Jackson 10/08 Updated: 10/08 10:10
ANGRY traders have warned parking charges need to be slashed to boost Bromsgrove’s ailing High Street.
The cost of parking in the town has long been a bone of contention for shopkeepers and residents but the issue has been thrust back into the spotlight after nearby Worcester City Council announced it was cutting parking charges in certain areas by more than 50 per cent until October.
Now traders are urging Bromsgrove District Council to follow suit or customers could be attracted elsewhere by lower prices.
Martin Connellan, owner of the Bromsgrove Cobbler, told the Standard: “The council just seem to be charging extortionate prices, when you can see we have no shops. The town is in decline with less and less people coming since 2008.
“Everywhere is struggling but Bromsgrove has something to offer. We need three hours of parking for 50p.”
The Standard reported three weeks ago how the number of tickets issued in the town’s car parks has fallen by more than 60,000 in the 12 months to March this year.
The changes introduced by Worcester City Council mean people can park in some places for £1.80 a day while in Bromsgrove the cheapest place is the multi-storey on Churchfields next to ASDA which charges £3 all day, although it closes at 7pm and does not open on Sundays.
The standard rate elsewhere around the town centre is £5 from 8am to 10pm Monday to Sunday with an hourly price of 80p.
Andy Critcher, franchisee of the former McDonald’s High Street store - now a YMCA shop - said the introduction of evening and Sunday charges was a factor in the decision to pull out of the town.
“It wasn’t the only reason, but it definitely impacted.”
One trader, who did not give his name, said it was cheaper to risk a fine by parking on double yellow lines than pay the parking charges.
“In six years I’ve never been fined but even if I did it would be nothing compared to the savings I have made by not paying in the evenings. I’m not the only one who does it.”
Coun Michael Webb, whose responsibilities on Bromsgrove District Council includes car parking, said: “We’re currently carrying out a complete review of all our car parking and setting prices is a part of that.
“We will be watching Worcester City’s temporary promotion with interest. It will be useful for us to see what difference it makes to their decline in parking numbers and to local trade, and also to see the feedback from city residents.”
A council spokesman added: “We wouldn’t support anyone parking illegally.”
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