Shropshire Star

Calls to introduce Sunday parking charges in Market Drayton

Sunday parking charges should be introduced in a market town instead of changing the existing chargeable hours, it has been claimed.

The Festival Drayton Centre

Geoff Vernon, chairman of Festival Drayton Centre in Market Drayton, has come up with the proposal as an alternative suggestion to Shropshire Council's proposed parking charges.

More than 3,000 people in the town signed a petition against the plans which would see parking charges increase, the town’s only free car park become chargeable and the 15 minutes 'pop-and-shop' scheme finish.

In addition, currently motorists can park for free from 6pm to 8am in the town and the proposals would change this from 8pm to 9am.

Mr Vernon said extending parking charges to 8pm would deal a "savage blow" to the Festival Drayton Centre and also damage local businesses.

Mr Vernon said: "The car parks in Market Drayton are currently free on a Sunday. This 'perk' benefits Argos, Wilkinsons, B&M, Costa, Greggs, Coral and Betfred – all national companies and no local businesses as they are not open on a Sunday.

"My proposal is to introduce parking charges on Sunday when the car parks are busy and then reduce the time threshold for charges from 6pm until 4pm every day.

"This would increase revenue and at the same time directly benefit every business in the town by providing free parking options to all their customers/clients."

The consultation run by Shropshire Council into car parking fee changes has now closed.

All responses to the consultation will now be considered before the final proposals are presented to the council's cabinet later this year.

However, Mr Vernon is concerned about the low numbers who took part in the consultation.

He said: "As the consultation period comes to a close it is now vitally important for there to be no doubt about the level of feeling in this town.

"We do not want the less than active response to the proposals by Market Drayton Town Council to be interpreted as reflecting the views of the community.

"All the townspeople are livid and not prepared to see these changes implemented where there is no logical reason.

"The direct submissions to the consultation may not be great on number due, in some part, to the methods of submitting responses. For example the almost impossible task of obtaining a hard copy for manual completion and not having access to the online survey.

"It is appreciated that there is a financial motive behind these proposals but the whole process is flawed and counter-productive. There are ways in which alternative options could provide an increase in revenue and being mutual benefit to all."