'Don't sacrifice the High Street' - Christchurch council urged to reconsider parking scheme (From Bournemouth Echo)
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'Don't sacrifice the High Street' - Christchurch council urged to reconsider parking scheme
CHRISTCHURCH Chamber of Trade has re-launched a campaign calling for two hours of parking for £1.
The original campaign started earlier this year, with the Chamber collecting 5,500 signatures from residents and traders, supporting the proposal.
But councillors, despite the wealth of local support, felt it wasn’t the right time for such a scheme and refused it, saying they may revisit it in the future.
Now, seven months after the refusal, the Chamber wants the council to look again at the popular plans, warning the town’s economy will suffer.
The council also in-troduced a £1 fee for overnight parking in town centre car parks as part of their parking scheme despite con-cerns.
President of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Peter Watson-Lee, said: “This is a very simple scheme that is workable.
“Other ideas such as pay on leaving and new methods of paying are attractive but would require a major overhaul of the system, which we understand would be costly.
“There is every possibility that such a policy will encourage people to use the town more often and attract back those who are currently attracted to other more benign towns and shopping centres. If we can attract more visitors then the parking take might even in-crease.”
Mr Watson-Lee also quoted Communities Minister, Eric Pickles, who last month called on councils to reduce their parking charges to avoid undermining the vitality of town centres.
He added: “Town centre parking rates are a tax on those people that our High Street retailers work hard to attract into the town.
“We know the council has financial cutbacks to cope with, but it is unreasonable to sacrifice the High Street by targeting car parking yet further.”
In August the RAC published a table of councils who reap the most from their car parks with Christchurch, one of the smallest, placed 102nd out of 345 councils.
The figures did include both on-street and off-street income, with on-street income now going directly to Dorset County Council.
Cllr Ray Nottage, leader of Christchurch Borough Council, said: “We are currently undergoing a review of car park charges and the review will include looking at the Chamber of Trade’s proposals.
“The review will be considered at our resources committee on September 25.”
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