By Ewan Foskett
Friday, May 18, 2012
FREE parking in Royston after 3pm has been safeguarded by councillors and the town’s business partnership for another year.
Royston First and county councillors Fiona Hill and Tony Hunter have pledged cash to keep the scheme going.
A statement released by the councillors stated: “We’re confident that this subsidy will attract residents and visitors to the town centre and help support local retailers. By removing the parking charges, we hope to see increased footfall in the town, particularly after school.”
The subsidy, combined with funding from the district council’s Royston and District Area Committee and Royston First, means that all car parks in Royston town centre controlled by North Herts District Council will continue to be free after 3pm.
It was launched in 2010 in all of the town centre car parks, including Morrisons, Fish Hill, and Angel Pavement in a bid to bring shoppers back into the town.
Town Centre manager Geraint Burnell said: “Royston First is joint funding the Free After 3 parking initiative for another year because it works. It used to be that, apart from the odd day, the town centre car parks were underused in the afternoons.
“Now we have very few spaces wasted after 3pm. Obviously this scheme is significantly aimed at parents dropping into the town centre after the school run. However, businesses also find it convenient when planning for banking or Post Office activities at the end of the day.
“I’m aware that some town centre businesses have customers or employees bringing their cars into the town centre for the last part of the afternoon, which is just fine because ‘if it works for them, it works for us’!”
Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, transport and enterprise, said: “I’m delighted that people who live and work in Royston are making good use of the Free After 3 scheme, and we’re pleased to continue supporting it via the Royston Area Committee.
“It’s an example of our ongoing commitment to attract people to Royston town centre and give a boost to local businesses.”
Cllrs Hill and Hunter also pledged £750 and £250 respectively to Royston & District Volunteer Centre from their locality budgets.
The funding will help the Royston Volunteer Centre to train volunteers, particularly young people not in education, employment or training, and match them to voluntary organisations and community groups in the area.