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Call for longer free parking
Free street parking in Waltham Forest could go from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to boost trade.
Matt Davis, Conservative group leader, called for the council to look into giving shoppers 30 minutes free parking to encourage trade at a full council meeting last night.
The motion was supported unanimously, so the council will now study whether this measure would benefit local businesses or cause further parking problems and report back next year.
Matt Davis said he was contacted by nearly 60 businesses concerned about a drop in trade which they felt was related to parking restrictions.
“They think this would make a big difference," he said.
“We know shops across the borough are struggling. Times are hard for them and anything the council can do to help it should be doing."
The council has expressed concern that extending the free parking allowance could clog up free spaces, making it harder for shoppers to park.
Cllr Davis said: “That seems unlikely for an extra 15 minutes. I would want to see evidence to back that up.”
Cllr Davis believes a national and local focus on trying to discourage people from using their cars is reflected in the council’s parking policies and damaging local businesses.
He said: “If you try to bully people by making shopping centres hard to reach by cars then people simply go elsewhere and they are voting with their wallets.”
“We want to get evidence to make an informed decision because it has financial implications for the council – it should be a decision which is justified by evidence. “
The Guardian approached the council for a comment and they were not able to provide one before this story was published.
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