Pleased with ‘positive’ discussions on parking

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Business owners say they are pleased with the “positive” steps taken at a meeting to address concerns over parking in Oakham.

Rutland County Council, Oakham Town Council and Oakham Town Partnership met on Wednesday night to discuss the situation.

Some retailers have called for two-hour free parking zones in the town, arguing that the one hour of free parking currently in place isn’t enough for people to do their shopping.

Many business owners believe extending the time people can park for free in Oakham would encourage them to stay in the town and spend more money there.

Debbie Oates, who runs Snapdragon in Mill Street, went to the meeting as a town partnership member. Afterwards she said: “We aired all the concerns and spoke about it at the same time. The county council has gone away to look at things again.

“There are quite a few retailers in the group and we have all aired our opinions on the current situation.

“What we want is to encourage people to come here and stay as long as possible. We are looking at several alternatives.”

Debbie added: “It’s really looking very positive. All we can do is thank everyone. It’s opened up the area for discussion.”

She said the current restrictions on free parking were having a “real impact on money going through the tills”.

A county council proposal to remove the 30 minute and one hour tariffs from the authority’s car parks and increase the charges for longer stays was also discussed on Wednesday.

Councillors originally saw the plans in August but deferred a decision until they had spoken to the town partnership.

A council spokesman said: “At Wednesday’s meeting it was recommended that this proposal should not proceed. However Oakham Town Partnership will consult further with local retailers before sharing their feedback with the council.

“A number of other issues were also discussed, including the capacity of current parking arrangements, the options for pay-on-exit and market day charges. These will be the subject of further consultation and a cabinet report in the next few months.”