Call for parking charges review

PUBLISHED: 12:48 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

COUNCILLORS were last night (Wednesday) urging a review of car parking charges in Royston. This was the latest attempt by members of the Royston area committee to have rises in charges introduced last month scrapped. They believe that the increase in park

COUNCILLORS were last night (Wednesday) urging a review of car parking charges in Royston.

This was the latest attempt by members of the Royston area committee to have rises in charges introduced last month scrapped.

They believe that the increase in parking charges is causing a drastic decline in trading and making people not use the town centre.

Last month a group of councillors took their protest on to the street and outlined their campaign to motorists using the town hall park and the Somerfield supermarket car park.

Since then there has been behind-closed-doors discussions between Royston councillors and the district council's transport portfolio holder, Cllr Richard Thake.

Cllr Thake had been invited to last night's meeting, but it is believed that he declined to meet his colleagues to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, a 107-page report which takes a demographic look at Royston, has emerged from consultants Ecotec.

The report says that residents had raised "strong criticism" about car parking charges in the town centre.

Charges were not helping the competitiveness of the High Street, and anecdotal evidence suggested that over the years trade in the town centre had dropped by 25 per cent, the report stated.

Research found that there was some "hostility" to new parking measures.

Consultants were told that there was concern about the extension of the Tesco superstore on the edge of Royston.

Royston councillors have been involved in a running battle with the rest of the district council over the recent increase in car parking charges.

They believed months ago that a promise had been given that the rise in charges would be reviewed - but then the increase was approved.

In a survey carried out by the Royston and District Chamber of Commerce, more than 50 per cent of town centre traders said sales were worse over a 12-month period.

They said parking was an issue which could share some of the blame for the loss of trade.

Thirty per cent of traders supported the idea of a parking charge refund scheme, and 45 per cent said such a project could be considered.

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