Bridgnorth 'losing tens of millions each year' due to lack of parking

Businesses leaders in Bridgnorth say the town is already losing "tens of millions" in revenue a year due to a lack of parking infrastructure as they welcome the scrapping of a new parking scheme.

Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce chairman Steve Robbins
Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce chairman Steve Robbins

Earlier this week, Shropshire Council put the brakes on controversial plans to change how street parking works in the market town after backlash from residents.

The proposals would have seen the number of limited stay parking bays slashed along with an increase in the cost of residents' parking permits.

Welcoming the scrapping of the plans, Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce has said that the "badly thought out" proposals would have cost shops and businesses in the town around £24 million a year in lost revenue.

Steve Robbins, chairman of Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed changes would have been "disastrous".

He added: "Recently the chamber did a study on parking in the High Street. Currently there are approximately 50 parking places with a 40-minute maximum time limit. The chamber estimated that this enabled as many as 4,500 vehicles to visit shops and businesses each week during working hours, nearly a quarter of a million shopping opportunities per annum."

He said that removing the "free" parking spaces would see a potential loss in revenue of £20 million a year plus around £3.5 million in lost revenue for hospitality businesses in the night time economy.

"Can our shops and businesses survive a loss in revenue of £24 million per annum?" he said. "The provision for parking in the town is already insufficient, particularly during the tourist season."

He said by the chamber's estimates "tens of millions of pounds per annum" was being lost due to a lack of parking on the town.

"Crucially it is the difference between some businesses being able to remain viable," said Mr Robbins.

"Slowly we are seeing more independent shops closing around the High Street, and surveys have shown many are now on the edge of being unsustainable due to high rents and rates and lack of customers."

He continued: "Council policy appears to be to do everything possible to reduce the amount of cars, but in a town such as Bridgnorth with so many steep hills and so little public transport, such policy does not work in the same way it might in Shrewsbury."

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