Parking hike hits market traders

PUBLISHED: 12:27 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 14:49 12 May 2010

Ian Knighton

Ian Knighton

STALL holders say Royston market will die due to increased parking charges and a failing High Street. They are concerned there are not enough shops in the town to draw people to the area, and fear the risk of getting a parking ticket is causing people to

STALL holders say Royston market will die due to increased parking charges and a failing High Street.

They are concerned there are not enough shops in the town to draw people to the area, and fear the risk of getting a parking ticket is causing people to ignore the market in a hurry.

Kevin Cadd, of the biscuits, cakes and sweet stall, said: "If people haven't got enough time to walk around, I see them walk straight past in a hurry.

"As a result I have noticed a bit of a decrease in customers and takings have gone down a little bit."

Louise Sentinella and Craig Skeath, of Shell Designs, said: "If the council could relax the parking charges on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8am-4pm it would help.

"Good customers are those who have time to browse but at the moment there is not enough trade because there are few people and those who do visit don't come back if they get a ticket."

Residents are also angry over the increased charges.

Jane Harvey, from Arrington, said: "For years I have been coming here but for what I save on the market I wonder why I bother when I could drive five miles in the other direction and shop somewhere else."

Sally Carr, of the pet food stall, said the market was, however, thriving before the introduction of wardens.

She said: "When the town didn't have any wardens it was really busy but that has changed and I have noticed a decline in trade.

"However, the fact that the town centre is dying doesn't help. It might make a difference if there were some decent shops in the town other than card shops and charity shops.

"The council have got to get that sorted before they can hope to drag traders in.

"It has been dying for some time and will die if nothing is done. Tesco will kill it even more and if the people of Royston don't support the town, they will only have one place to shop and that will be Tesco."

A spokesperson for the fruit and vegetable stall said: "It's a quiet town anyway and to increase parking charges will make it quieter."

Councillor Richard Thake, portfolio holder for transport, said about the parking charges that "this is the first increase in charges for five years and there is no proven link between car park charges and the prosperity of the retail trade.

"In other towns we have the same or higher charges and thriving shops, in others parking is free and some shops are struggling.

"Controlled parking is fairer to all shoppers and makes best use of the space available in the town centre."

Councillor Ian Knighton, portfolio holder responsible for markets, said:

"We have started a review of the management of our markets, to see if there is a better way of doing it.

"In the meantime, I hope the traders will seize the opportunity presented by the arrival of our new manager and assist him in his efforts.

"We want to work with market traders and retailers, through the Town Centre Partnership, to spread positive messages about Royston as a place to shop and do business."

The council will be reviewing charges across the district later in the autumn, after they have had a reasonable trial.

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