Traders divided on parking charge rise
MOTORISTS parking in two town centres for more than 15 minutes could be charged up to £1 more.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is being asked to increase parking fees in Tunstall and Stoke.
A group of councillors is recommending putting up prices in Glebe Street and Kingsway, in Stoke, and in Tower Square, Tunstall, in a bid to make an additional £8,500 every year.
Charges in the three areas currently stand at 45p for half-an-hour, 90p for up to an hour, £1.80 for up to two hours and £2.70 for up to three hours.
****Best Deals**** Van Insurance for 17-24 Yr Old Drivers - Contact Insure365 on 01782 898188 for a quotation, Free Legal Protection Included Valued at £25.00!
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Tuesday, June 25 2013
But the new charge would see drivers pay 50p to park for 30 minutes, £1.10 for up to an hour, £2.40 for up to two hours and £3.70 for up to three hours. The 25p, 15-minute charge would remain the same.
Traders in Tunstall have welcomed the findings and hope the proposed charges would help free up parking spaces.
Bill McDonald, pictured below, chairman of Tunstall Chamber of Trade and owner of Copy Cad, said: "People don't really need any more than 30 minutes in Tower Square.
"As long as the short-stay charges don't increase then I don't think the new prices will cause too much of a problem.
"Tower Square is very much a 'stop-and-go' area.
"They park up and nip to get a sandwich or a pie, so as long as people can still do that then it should be fine.
"I can't see that it would have any adverse effect."
Brendan Fern, vice-chairman of Tunstall Chamber of Trade and owner of Brendan Fern Limited, in nearby Paradise Street, added: "A lot of people complain that those who park in Tower Square park there for a long time, but the idea of that parking area is so people can nip in and out of the shops.
"There are other areas in the town to park if you need to spend a few hours shopping.
"While nobody likes to see parking charges going up, this may help free up a few spaces for those people who really need them."
But traders in Stoke say the increase in charges will drive customers away.
Robert Barrs, aged 37, who runs Rubber Soul Records, in Hide Street, said: "Traders have been hit really hard at the moment and increasing parking charges isn't going to do us any favours. More people would come into the town if it was completely free. The council isn't giving anyone any encouragement to visit Stoke.
"This is just another nail in the coffin."
Thirty-one-year-old John Whittington, of Stoke, who is a former manager of The Famous Lion pub, added: "It is a complete joke. We have seen it before, when parking charges are increased, footfall decreases.
"This will have a detrimental effect on town centre trade.
"At a time when big names like HMV and Blockbuster are shutting down, the High Street needs all the help it can get."
The report into Stoke-on-Trent's parking charges will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday.
Would you pay the higher charges? Email letters@thesentinel .co.uk