Thursday, January 17, 2013
»Parking charges will “kill the high street off” according to one shopkeeper, with hundreds of new pay and display bays proposed and a hike in charges.
The final locations of the 250 new bays, which would net the council an additional £160,000 over the next three years, are yet to be decided.
With many traders struggling to stay afloat, some fear increases in charges could signal the end for shopping parades as people go to areas with free parking.
David Johnson, manager of Lloyds Pharmacy, Manford Way, Hainault, said: “We are struggling against supermarkets already which have free parking. It will kill the high street off even more. We are really, really struggling at the moment.”
He said people were choosing to shop more online and to visit shopping centres like Westfield, Stratford and Lakeside, Thurrock.
Mr Johnson, 48, added: “I’m doing my best, you only have to see the news to see how we are struggling. If these go through then that will probably be the final nail in the coffin.”
Proposals also include increasing parking charges for visits of more than two hours.
Satdev Kumar, 37, chairman of Seven Kings Business Partnership, said: “High streets are going to suffer and it will get worse as no one’s thinking of businesses for the long term.”
Mr Kumar said he appreciated the council is under pressure to cut spending, but hiking parking charges should be reconsidered.
“There are already shops on the high street that are closing,” he said. “I know they have to make their money somehow but they should think of something else.”
A council spokesman said the plans are in their early stages and decisions have not been made on locations.
He said: “Initial studies have identified a number of roads all of which are subject to consultation. These sites include Manford Way, Hainault; High Street, Wanstead; Station Road, Barkingside; Madeira Grove, [Woodford Green] and Baron Gardens, [Barkingside] as possible areas for these.”