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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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On-street parking charges ‘are last nail in the coffin’

THE introduction of controversial on-street parking charges will be “another nail in the coffin” for Whitehaven, it has been claimed.

By Sarah Robinson

West Cumbria’s Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Whitehaven Chamber of Trade and Whitehaven Town Team have slammed Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve proposals.

The move will affect 11 towns across Cumbria. It is not yet known which Whitehaven streets will be affected or how much the charges will be.

Allan Mossop, chair of West Cumbria’s FSB, said: “In my view it’s another nail in the coffin for the town. It will mean, without a shadow of a doubt, that more shops will close.”

He is writing to Cumbria County Council and the government to challenge the decision.

Charles Maudling, chair of Whitehaven Chamber of Trade, said: “I honestly think there has been no consultation with local businesses.

“If people are limited to half an hour in town it won’t give them enough time to shop. We are trying to attract people to the town.”

He added that he would prefer free parking in Whitehaven to encourage more shoppers.

Shelley Williamson, chair of Whitehaven Town Team, said: “It’s a terrible idea. It hampers the good work that other groups are doing to increase footfall and encourage new businesses to come into the town.”

She said if charges are brought into the market place, the move will “undo” the work of Townscape Heritage Initiative to improve the area, and added there is enough pay and display areas already.

Councillors approved the plans at a cabinet meeting last week, stating the council can no longer afford to keep parking free with ever-growing pressures on budgets.

Following the meeting, Coun Frank Morgan said: “Nobody wants any cuts to services but the reality is the money isn’t there. We will endeavour to do the best we can for the business community and the transport routes through the town.”

Coun Mike Hawkins said he believes the measure will benefit the town.

“If you take Lowther Street as an example, there are major problems with congestion. People park in a space and can stay there all day. If we have a short term parking, it will increase the flow of people and increase footfall,” he said.

Proposals will be looked at by the county’s Copeland Local Committee in summer. The plans will then be published and will go out to consultation before the committee makes any final decisions.

It is believed the charges must be at least equal to or up to 20 per cent above what is already charged for off street parking in that area. There will also be new charges for residents permits.

Other affected towns include Carlisle, Penrith, Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington.

Have your say

What a load of rubbish.

Even if parking was free there are no shops worth visiting anymore - sort out the town rather than blaming parking charges

Posted by Me on 28 May 2014 at 10:54

It's ok if your town has plenty and a good range of shops to tempt people into the town (then people may easily accept that they have to pay), or the tourist interest. Unfortunately, Whitehaven has very little to offer and will now scare away the folk popping into town with the sole intention to visit one or two shops. Much easier to pop to a supermarket and park for free.

Posted by Bailey on 23 May 2014 at 09:40

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