Call for free bus station parking

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A committee set up by community leaders to boost trade has called on a council to let coach drivers park in a bus station for free.

Members of Stamford Town Team are concerned that the many coach drivers who visit the town on day trips are being forced to pay £10 to park for just a couple of hours.

The town is frequented by day-trippers, many of whom arrive by coach.

Drivers often drop off their passengers at the bus station in St Peter’s Hill then park and wait the one or two hours for their return.

But South Kesteven District Council, which runs the bus station, says coach drivers should not be parking there and should instead drive across town to the Cattle Market car park and pay a £10 fee.

Town Team member and Stamford Chamber of Trade and Commerce president Tim Lee said forcing drivers to pay to park could put tour companies off coming to Stamford.

He added: “Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

“A lot of these coaches come to Stamford for a drop-off point. It’s not a full day visit. They come to have a sample of the town.

“Most of them aren’t there for more than two hours.

“We offer any motorist the opportunity to stay free for one or two hours so the very least we can do is offer the same opportunity to coach drivers who are bringing business to the town.

“At the moment they have to pay to park out of their own pocket.”

Talks with the district council are ongoing but Mr Lee hopes the Town Team can push for a change in the parking policy.

The council’s property services team leader Mike Smith said: “We are aware of the issue of tourist coach operators using the bus station.

“We are giving the issue some further consideration in response to suggestions posed by Stamford Chamber of Commerce and reviewing signage on the site to provide further clarity to users.”

In the meantime the Town Team has been working to provide something for coach drivers.

Mr Lee said: “We have got all our independent cafes to agree to offer a free cup of tea or coffee to any coach driver.

“They are very welcome in our town.”