Calls Continue to Bring Back One Hour Free Parking for Town Centre
After proposing a winning motion at Kidderminster Town Council to urge the Progressive Alliance-led Wyre Forest District Council (WFDC) to bring back one hour free parking for Kidderminster town centre, your Conservative Town Councillors and activists in Kidderminster are appalled to discover that WFDC is not planning to support traders in Kidderminster with free parking; as other districts throughout the West Midlands have already done.
A press release issued by WFDC (dated 12 June 2020) quotes the Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Planning and Capital Investment, Councillor Fran Oborski, as saying, “… Kidderminster [and Stourport] has […] significant free car parking provided for users of supermarkets and other shopping developments.” The Cabinet member, who is also a member of Kidderminster Town Council, is suggesting that traders in Kidderminster Town Centre should rely on their customers using the ‘free’ supermarkets to park.
While your Conservative Kidderminster Town Councillors absolutely support any initiative(s) for Bewdley traders, it is a disgrace for the Progressive Alliance-led WFDC to abandon traders in the other two town centres and expect any rebooted local economy to depend on the use of supermarket car parks.
Councillor David Ross, Leader of the Kidderminster Town Council Conservative Group said, “Free one hour parking was introduced by the Conservative Administration in 2011 – nine years ago – and a more consistent and rational approach to charges in the towns of Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport was founded. Equality between the three town centres was – and still is – essential. The town centres urgently need customers to visit and to kick start local businesses and the added burden of no free parking will certainly dissuade many residents from changing back to town centre shopping. The last few months have seen residents depend on supermarkets and online shopping – this trend needs to now be reversed as much and as quickly as possible.”
Deputy Group Leader Councillor Juliet Smith said, “Some Kidderminster supermarkets expect users of their car parks to visit their store to ‘pay’ for parking, while others operate measures to monitor the number of customers using their car parks while not purchasing anything in the supermarket itself. Many smaller independent traders, who are in direct competition with the supermarkets anyway (such as florists, jewellers, clothes shops etc) are in desperate need of assistance as the world tries to get going again post COVID-19 and the reintroduction of one hour free parking could make a dramatic difference to all of the town centres.”
Photos show: Councillor David Ross, Leader of the Kidderminster Town Council Conservative Group (centre); Cllr Rose Bishop (top left); Cllr Kevin Gale (bottom left); Cllr Juliet Smith, Deputy Leader of the Kidderminster Town Council Conservative Group (bottom right) along with activist Julian Phillips; and local activist Paul Hughes (top right).