Free parking boosts business

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Local businesses have reaped the benefits since Northumberland County Council introduced free parking across council-owned car parks and on-street parking places in April.

Chair of Berwick Chamber of Trade, John Haswell, said the effect of free parking on trade has been ‘fantastic’ effecting both visitor numbers and local people staying in the area to shop.

Members of the committee on the Alnwick Chamber of Trade have noticed improvements however, they have recognised, although some problems have been alleviated, there is still room for improvement.

Mr Sayers, from estate agency, Rook Matthews Sayer said: “I generally agree things are better, you do have to search for a space - we always did - but I think turnover of cars in the centre is better and quicker.”

He added: “Responsible workers and employers will try to encourage parking a little further from the prime central parking spots, they would free up valuable parking for shoppers spending and we all benefit from a few minutes’ walk when the weather’s good.”

George Williams, chairman of Morpeth Chamber of Trade, added: “it is clear that the new system has made a very substantial difference to shopping habits in the town centre.”

Some traders have expressed the view that short stay limit on certain streets should be increased from two to three hours.

Many traders and local business owners have noted a rise in the amount of visitors to shopping areas, as well as a change in attitude. Shoppers have commented that they feel less rushed and can enjoy the experience of shopping, enjoying a coffee or some lunch.

Every town and village has different needs. This was recognised by the council when it asked town and parish councils to decide what was best for them. Each established their own parking rules after consultation with the community.

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