Traders called to meeting about Brentwood parking fees

Council wants “a sensible discussion” with business minds

TRADERS are being invited to a round table discussion about the future of parking fees in the borough.

Applicants are being sourced for the meeting, at 6.30pm on December 9 at Brentwood Town Hall. Ingrave Road, Brentwood.

Council Leader Louise McKinlay said the council wanted to invite a representative sample of all types of traders from various different points in the High Street to have “a sensible discussion” about what parking fees the council will charge from April next year.

“What we’ve seen is that it’s been a very political issue and the opposition have put up some hare-brained ideas that just wouldn’t work,” she said.

“We can’t give away free parking. We have to have income to protect front line services.”

Cllr Nigel Clarke, who runs The Hair Company in Crown Street, Brentwood, welcomed the move, saying that traders had been ignored for too long.

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He said: “In all decisions about parking schemes traders are never consulted. Shop workers have to pay �10 a day to park here and come to work, that’s a huge chunk out of their wages.

“We would like to see parking free for the first hour; a lot of shopkeepers in this town are on their knees, we need an incentive for people to come here rather than Lakeside.”

Joint chairman of the Brentwood and District Traders Association, Lin Heath, said her members thought they could do a better job.

“We understand that the council has to balance the funding. But what we can’t understand is that the majority of towns all have evening parking charges so it’s not just the shoppers that are being penalised. We’ve got people running shops in the High Street who used to run car parks for a living. If we could look into the figures and balance the books, it would be more fair.”

Cllr McKinlay said that 80 per cent of motorists park for two hours or less, so making parking free for the first hour would not work.

“We would lose a huge chunk of our parking revenue,” she said. “We want to give them the figures we are working with so we’re all on the same page and can have a discussion about it.”

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