Trader’s warning over parking charges

IF parking charges are introduced to a town centre it will eventually ruin trade. That was the stark warning from baker and outgoing chairman of the Sandy Chamber of Trade David Gunns. Mr Gunns, who handed over the chairmanship to local hairdresser Sandra

IF parking charges are introduced to a town centre it will eventually ruin trade.

That was the stark warning from baker and outgoing chairman of the Sandy Chamber of Trade David Gunns.

Mr Gunns, who handed over the chairmanship to local hairdresser Sandra Jones this week, criticised the town council's plans to introduce parking charges in the car park opposite St Swithun's Church in the town centre.

Meanwhile, the town council says introducing charges will mean more shoppers coming into the town and reduce the problems of dangerous parking there.


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"Parking charges would stifle business in Sandy," said Mr Gunns.

"The parking situation is a problem for shoppers and unless something is done trade will continue to fall.

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"We need more people shopping in Sandy and that might bring more businesses into the empty shops.

"It is a shame to see empty shops but if visitors to the town centre have nowhere to park then they are not going to come into Sandy. The better the business is the better chance there is of attracting an established name to the town like Woolworths.

"Perhaps we should concentrate on trying to make parking on a multi-level so there is more space for people to park vehicles and then shop or the existing car parks having parking for just an hour for free."

But town council clerk Trevor Stewart hit backing saying the town centre car park has 85 spaces but often up to 100 vehicles squeeze into the area.

"It is becoming dangerous and causing havoc and something urgent has to be done about it," said Mr Stewart, who said charging to park could come into force by the end of the year.

"It is something the council is actively looking at. Charging people to park there for limited periods would allow the car park to be used by shoppers and not to be filled up every day by commuters and town centre workers.

"Charging will mean a turnover of vehicles and the potential for more customers. At the moment it is full up between 8am and 6pm and is a nightmare.

"Charging for short stay would deter a lot of people currently using the car park from staying there all day and leave more space for shoppers which, in our opinion, would be for the benefit of shopkeepers.

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