Petition launched calling on council to provide TWO hours free parking in Scunthorpe and Ashby
A petition calling on North Lincolnshire Council to provide two hours free parking in Scunthorpe and Ashby has been launched.
Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin is calling on the council to provide this for a six-month trial and is launching the petition, which will be placed in the stores of any retailers that want to support the campaign, on Friday, August 31.
Shoppers are currently allowed to park free of charge for one hour in selected council-run car parks in Scunthorpe and Ashby.
But retailers in Brigg have recently reported an uplift in trade as a result of the two hours free parking and there has been an increase in traffic over the Humber Bridge as a result of halving the tolls, Mr Dakin claimed.
He said: "There needs to be action now if retailers in Ashby and Scunthorpe are to have the support they deserve in these difficult times.
"And shoppers in Scunthorpe and Ashby should be supported in the same way as shoppers in Brigg. To do anything else is unfair and indefensible. I am calling on the council to bring in two hours free car parking on a trial basis for six months.
"This would give a boost to local people and local businesses at a very crucial time in the run up to Christmas."
North Lincolnshire Council said it would cost £500,000 to roll out such a scheme.
Mr Dakin said he was unable to say exactly where the funding could come from to pay for the free parking but said it was a question of political choices for the council. He said: "I am not in a position where I am able to make choices but they are. What I am saying is based on what retailers are saying to me in the town centre and Ashby, if we want the town centre to have a future, this is when the council has to step up to the plate and take action."
Des Comerford, the owner of the Fallen Hero store in Scunthorpe and the leader of the Keep Scunthorpe Alive group, which campaigns against out of town retail stores such as the planned M&S development near the Gallagher Retail Park, said: "Scunthorpe and Ashby needs an injection in the arm immediately to revive footfall.
"It's quite simple. Two hours free car parking would be a massive boost."
David Redmile, of Cindy's Accessories on Cole Street, is supporting the petition. He said: "The council will argue that it will cost them money.
"The way I look at it is that out-of-town retailers are here to stay. The way that we can benefit from out-of-town retailing is by encouraging other people into the town."
Dominic Ryan, who works at the Trade Winds store, said: "Hopefully, it will get more shoppers into the town and fill out these empty units."
Councillor Liz Redfern, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: "The local Conservatives delivered free car parking for Scunthorpe in our first few months of running the council and we have plans to extend it even further.
"Mr Dakin has provided no information of how the £500,000 required will be raised from local taxpayers."
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