Traders’ anger over free parking incentive

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Traders have slammed South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) for offering a free car parking incentive in Grantham over the festive period and not proposing the same for Stamford.

The council is offering free parking in its Grantham car parks from 2pm on Saturdays in December to encourage shoppers to visit the town’s High Street over the festive period.

But some traders feel not offering the same incentive to Stamford is giving the town a raw deal as they think free parking could help it thrive during the festive period.

Sharron Diamond, manager of stationery retailer Coleman’s which has two shops, the other an art shop, in Stamford town centre, said: “If it is good enough for Grantham then it should be good enough for Stamford as well.

“Saturday mornings are hereditarily quiet until 1 o’clock when people come into town but when you get to three o’clock it seems to go quiet but if you had free car parking I am sure it would encourage people.”

David Dunn, manager of Harrison and Dunn hardware store in All Saints’ Street, said: “Stamford has always been a cash cow for Grantham, why is it good enough for one and not good enough for another? They will kill Stamford eventually if they carry on the way they are.”

Guy Gilman, owner of Nelsons Butchers in Red Lion Square, said: “Anything which can help people come into the town is good for the town. Car parking charges still put people off.”

John Bridge, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, which represents Stamford businesses, said: “If they are going to do free parking in Grantham, then Stamford should be offered the same advantage. Especially as this would be an attraction to local visitors and help with local businesses, helping the community thrive during the festive period.”

Coun Nick Robins (Con), SKDC Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy, who made the car parking proposal for Grantham, hit back at the criticism.

He said: “Stamford is extremely fortunate to have such a vibrant retail economy, which will be especially so in the run-up to Christmas.

“Finding a car parking space in Stamford can already be a challenge, which is likely to become even more difficult if we incentivise shoppers to park for longer, thereby limiting the overall number of people that can come in to town.”