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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Half-hour parking limit killing Cumbrian town centre - claim

Parking bosses could be forced into a U-turn amid claims that “insane” restrictions are killing town centre trade in Workington.

Workington shop owners photo
From left, traders Alan Moore, of Intrim Gym, Alison Short, of Alison’s Attic, and Graeme Cameron, of Sole it, Lock it

People parked in Murray Road and Finkle Street have just half an hour to do their shopping and return to their cars.

The controversial 30-minute parking was introduced in 2007 to encourage more people to ‘pop and shop’ but many traders claim it is having just the opposite effect.

Now the county council is considering a re-think following pressure from traders and Allerdale council’s town centre area manager.

Workington MP Tony Cunningham wrote to the county council on behalf of the traders. In a reply to him, chief executive Jill Stannard confirmed that there are plans for a public exhibition and consultation in the Carnegie Theatre to address concerns.

She added that this would enable the council to “amend” the current waiting restrictions “subject to funding being available.” A date for the meeting has not been arranged but traders understand it will be “imminently”.

Toni Magean, Allerdale council’s town centre area manager for Workington, said: “Having listened to concerns from traders regarding current parking restrictions in the town centre, I raised the issues with the county Highways team on their behalf. The county council has been quite amenable and I understand that highways officers are considering meeting privately with traders.”

Alan Moore of Intrim Fitness Centre said his trade was “down alarmingly” because of the half-hour parking.

He said that it was “impossible” for gym-goers to get ready, warm up, train, cool down and shower in 30 minutes.

Mr Moore would like to see a minimum of an hour and a half parking.

He joked that he would write to world’s fastest man Usain Bolt challenging him to visit three shops in Workington town centre in half an hour.

Graeme Cameron, director of nearby Sole It, Lock It said: “Customers want a job done quickly because they are only parked for half an hour. But sometimes you can’t do it in that time and still do a quality job.”

Leigh Richardson, manager of electrical shop Peter Tyson in Finkle Street, added: “In our business, people don’t make two-minute decisions.”

Shoppers caught in a queue at the bank or in the post office could easily find themselves landed with a parking ticket.

The area, which falls just outside Workington’s £35m Washington Square shopping centre, is also one of the few areas in the town centre where independent traders still outnumber national chain stores.

Mr Moore added: “It’s the little independent businesses like these which are affected by the parking, not the multi-nationals. These are also the businesses that reinvest in their local community: it doesn’t go down the motorway to share-holders.

“If people can’t park, they will go to multi-nationals where they can: that’s why companies like Tesco are gobbling up trade.

“People like to browse in these shops, and this half-hour parking is absolutely insane.”

Have your say

Very true! Had not been to Workington for some time and didn't check time limit so assumed it was an hour, wrong! Got back to a parking ticket, haven't been since and won't be going back! Now do all my shopping in Cockermouth, plenty of places to park and great shops too!

Posted by Judy Sanderson on 4 February 2013 at 15:11

It's ridiculous really - you go into town, your intention being to "get a few bargains". Surely that's what the whole high street is about - Iceland, Peacocks, Savers, Bon-Marche, Poundland, Home Bargains, the market stalls (and many more), these shops are all geared towards providing you with what you want (or need) to buy at the best possible price. You scrimp and save, you visit the shops and compare prices, you buy and save a quid or two here and there, and whatever you save is immediately nullified because you had to pay to park to shop in the town centre.
Or look at it the other way - you'll save a few quid shopping around which will subsidise your parking charges. Psshhhttt.

Well take it from me - the town centre ain't nothing special really - I'd rather shop at Derwent Howe where parking is free all day and every day and prices really are rock bottom.

Posted by V Singleton on 4 February 2013 at 09:45

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