Stamford’s MP is calling on council chiefs to bring in two-hours’ free parking to encourage people to shop in the town.
Nick Boles wants residents and traders to back his campaign and is setting up an online petition.
He says the ease of internet shopping and lack of free parking in Stamford is driving customers away.
He said: “The current car parking charges are not an enormous amount to pay but at a time when people’s budgets are tight they compare them with parking in an out-of-town shopping centre or shopping online.
“It’s more convenient and cheaper to do the latter.”
Mr Boles will officially launch a Free Parking Campaign on Saturday, December 7. He wants South Kesteven District Council to install exit barriers on all its Stamford car parks and introduce free parking for a maximum of two hours.
People parking longer would then have to pay.
Mr Boles hopes as many residents, business owners and employees as possible will sign an online petition supporting his campaign.
He added: “I have spoken to colleagues in Parliament. In towns where they have introduced reasonable periods of free parking it has had a really dramatic effect on the level of footfall.
“People enjoy coming into town but it needs to be competitive with the alternative.
“If we want to encourage more people to come in and make it possible for new retailers to set up in empty shops we need to have a level playing field in terms of parking.”
The district council was due to change parking charges in Stamford, increasing the longer tariffs and cutting some of the shorter ones. But councillors decided a more comprehensive review was needed before any changes were made.
Mr Boles said: “We need the community on all sides to say what they think is necessary. If enough people sign up to this idea I am sure it is doable.”
Parking for two hours in Stamford currently costs £1.30 in short stay car parks. Three hours’ parking in long stay car parks is £1.80.
The petition will be available on www.nickbolesmp.com.