PLANNED changes to parking charges in Fareham have brought joy to independent traders.
Fareham Borough Council will turn short stay car parks in Malthouse Lane and Trinity Street into long stay in April 2013, which will make them cheaper and more attractive to shoppers to park in.
Shops along the western end of West Street have long claimed that they are overlooked by shoppers in favour of the precinct area in the town centre.
This move will make the two car parks cost just 70p for the first hour, instead of £1. Car park users will also be able to stay all day for just £3.50, whereas previously they had to abide by a five hour maximum stay or face a £25 penalty.
Nick Scott, manager of newly-opened Imbizo cafe, said: ‘The council is trying to encourage footfall up this end of the street and anything that brings people up here is great. This is a really practical way to do so.’
Sheryl Burrows, of Rawsons the Florist, said: ‘Anything that makes people want to shop here is a bonus. I wish they could do more but at least this is a step in the right direction.’
Fareham Borough Council spent £1.3m improving the street scene of the western end of West Street in 2007/08 and have also put up Christmas lights to make the street more appealing.
Mick Whitlock, from Fareham Sewing Machines, has been on West Street for 43 years. He said: ‘Ultimately the council have never really looked after this end of the street, but anything that redresses that will be warmly welcomed.’
Peter Cripps, from P&S Cripps Fishmongers, has worked there for 22 years. He said: ‘It needs something done. It’s the price of parking that drives people away. People can park for free at the supermarket and that’s what they do and they buy everything there.
‘They used to call this the golden mile. We had our good times and I’m glad we did, because we hardly make anything now.’
Fareham Borough Council will also be rebranding its car parks from short stay and long stay to ‘inner and outer’ in an attempt to reflect the convenience of the car park to the surrounding utilities.