Sunday, 29 November 2015

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West Cumbrian traders fear parking charges will kill stores

The introduction of on-street parking charges would be the “death knell” for businesses in Cockermouth, it has been claimed.

Jonty Chippendale photo
Jonty Chippendale

The town’s chamber of trade is opposing plans by Cumbria County Council to introduce the charges across the county as part of a package of budget measures.

The chamber has written to the council and has also launched a petition.

Cockermouth county councillor Eric Nicholson said: “It will be the death knell of town centre shopping. It is an unnecessary cost and it would be years before it started to pay for itself.

“There is no need for it as the disc parking already works well.”

He is working with his county colleague Alan Kennon to fight the plans, he said.

Jonty Chippendale, chamber of trade chairman, said: “It is a ridiculous idea and will only harm businesses.

“Parking has been a major issue in the last 10 years in driving people out of town centres.

“Everybody is against it and we hope common sense will prevail.”

Ralph Huddart, owner of RTSN Huddart Supplies, said: “We are strongly opposed to this as it definitely will have a negative effect on Cockermouth. You may as well put a sign up to say ‘shut’.”

The county council said that if charges were introduced the fine detail would be worked out at “a local level”, backed up by detailed investigations into parking issues. It is investigating charges in areas which have towns and populations similar to Cumbria.

Julie Watson, owner of Cockermouth Sweet Shop, said: “Parking is bad enough without introducing these charges.”

Catherine Hetherington, owner of The New Bookshop, said: “If we were charged for an hour it will stop people coming in.”

William Myers, owner of Let’s Write card and gift shop, said: “The disc system works fine.”

Areas to have already introduced charges include Durham, 40p to £1 for an hour, Newcastle, 30p to £2.40, Harrogate, £1.20 to £1.40 and Lancaster £1.20.

A county council spokesman said the budget savings consultation was asking people for views on a series of propositions.

He said: “Cumbria is in a small minority of local authorities which currently do not charge for on-street parking. Most introduced this long ago and its beneficial impact on traffic flow is proven.”


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