Friday, 3.15pm: Plans to limit free parking in Market Deeping have been put on hold.
After a meeting with Market Deeping Town Council yesterday (Thursday) New River Retail agreed to postpone the implementation of a three-hour limit in the car park at the Deeping Shopping Centre off Godsey Lane.
The rethink follows a surge of public opposition, with almost 400 people signing a petition against the changes.
Mayor of Market Deeping Roy Stephenson revealed the news on the Deepings Free Discussion Facebook page today (Friday).
He said: “At our meeting last night, Kevin Smith representing NRR, has agreed to postpone the implementation of the parking scheme until such time as discussions can take place with all the interested parties. This is a good result.
“However he also informed us that the contract with Smart Parking had already been signed. I am not sure how much room this leaves us to change events but we must take this opportunity to organize the various groups involved and enter into direct discussions with New River Retail.
“In order to facilitate a new start and show good faith, I shall be taking the petition off-line and further action by the council suspended until we know the outcome of the meeting. I will make sure residents are kept informed and, if necessary, start a new petition based on any new circumstances. I know you will support any further action that we have to take.
“Thank you all for your support: you have been amazing. Now let’s work towards a mutually agreed solution.”
New River Retail announced plans to enforce a three-hour limit in the car park of the Deeping Shopping Centre off Godsey Lane, Market Deeping, on Friday last week.
Restrictions in the area formerly known as The Precincts has never previously been enforced and Deepings residents have enjoyed free parking for many years.
But New River Retail said it would use automatic number plate recognition technology to stop people parking in the centre all day and doing their shopping in Peterborough.
Once the plans were revealed traders, residents and councillors hav reacted strongly against them. Coun Stephenson said the restrictions were “totally unnecessary.”
Andrea Ferguson-Sanders owns Serenity Beauty in Market Gate, just next door to the shopping centre. She is worried she will lose some of her business.
“I do have elderly clients who live in Deeping but come and park here. People come here, do their shopping, go to the butchers, and go and have a coffee. They are not going to be able to do that.”
Many residents are also concerned that a lack of all-day parking will mean town centre workers park on residential streets instead.
New River Retail director Nick Sewell said the firm had been “forced to enforce” restrictions by a minority of people who abused the existing limits.
He added: “If our retailers are telling us their shoppers can’t use the car park because there are people there all day, then we have to do something.”