Fresh calls for free car parking in Scunthorpe town centre after businesses note drop in trade
Traders have renewed their call for free car parking to be increased in Scunthorpe town centre after they noticed a drop in trade.
Business owners say they have noticed people spending less money in town after the closure of several stores in recent years.
And they have again called on North Lincolnshire Council to increase free parking provision to two hours in a bid to help keep the High Street vibrant.
A petition was also launched last month by Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin calling for the move, which would bring parking measures into line with those in Brigg.
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Among the stores to leave Scunthorpe town centre in the past two years are Marks & Spencer, TJ Hughes, Currys and Game.
Des Comerford, chairman of the Keep Scunthorpe Alive campaign group, said he thought it was important to attract more recognised businesses back to Scunthorpe.
He said: "I believe the current strength of the retail climate in our town centre consists of a lot of quality independent retailers.
"But for a strong retail offer, we need to attract more multiple retailers. We have approached the council on a number of occasions asking for help and it is yet to come forward with any help for the town centre business community.
"In no way are we condemning the fact Brigg retailers benefit from two hours' free parking – we would like to compliment that initiative. All we are asking is for this area to trade on a level playing field."
Mr Comerford has written to council leader Liz Redfern, asking for two hours free parking to be trialed at The Parishes car park.
David Redmile, owner of Cindy's Accessories in The Parishes, said he did not believe this would be expensive to implement. He said: "It would be a minimal cost investment to give two hours' free parking in that car park. I use that as the model because it is a pay as you leave car park, not when you arrive."
Mr Dakin's petition was due to run for a month from August 31 but he said it would be extended further. He said: "The response has been very positive. It is very clear from talking to retailers and shoppers that one thing everybody is agreed on is some sort of initiative on free parking for two hours would make a big difference."
Mr Dakin said he supported calls for a trial at The Parishes car park. He said: "You have got a good car park there that is empty.
"They could, as a starting point, take that two hours free parking and see how shoppers respond."