TRADERS who have campaigned for free parking outside their shops hope a pilot scheme can secure funding next month.

Shopkeepers in Station Road, Chingford, are asking for 15 minutes free parking on the road to help local businesses and encourage more people to come and shop.

Currently shoppers pay £1 an hour for a voucher, which traders say discourages them from coming into the area for a quick shop and drives them to supermarkets with free parking.

Residents will decide whether North Chingford Community Council funds a one-month trial on November 15.

Darshan Sunger, from Ideal Property, said: “I have had my car clamped and a number of tickets on the street. I have witnessed other people getting tickets.

“People don't like the vouchers. And often they have mistakenly scratched off the wrong date and got parking fines.

“I am glad the scheme might be piloted here. It will encourage customers to come and shop here.

“People come to the street to get a pint of milk, or book a hairdressers appointment, or take keys to the estate agents. If you just want to pop into a shop the free parking is more convenient.”

Cllr Michael Lewis said: “People don't like the parking system. And the traffic wardens are very vigilant. They don't want to pay for an hour's parking when they are just popping into one shop.

“I think if the new scheme goes through it will be very popular with the shoppers and shopkeepers. It gives more flexibility. And if you are going to stay longer that 15 minutes you can still pay for parking. The current system discourages people from shopping in the area.”

Celso Lizarondo, from Almar's Superstore, said: “This is good news and I hope it goes ahead. We will definitely benefit from free parking, even though it is for a short time. It will encourage people to come in and shop in Station Road.”

Vijay Arul, from Newsbox, said: “On one hand I will suffer because we sell the parking tickets in the shop, so we will sell less of them. But on the other hand it will bring more people into the area to shop so it will be good overall.”

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