Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

MP For North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP Supports Lowering Car Parking Charges

Parking charges in Swindon could be slashed if the council agrees to new proposals next week.

If the new charges, which would last until the end of July 2011, are backed by Swindon Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday it would see the price of parking for up to four hours in the town centre cut from £4.80 to £2.

It would also mean that parking for up to an hour would cost £1, as opposed to the current price of £1.20.

In Old Town, under the new plans, it would cost 70p for up to an hour and £1 for stays of between one and two hours.

The council is also going to consider the provision of a new 850- space car park in Union Square – the £350m development between the railway station and the town centre.

In his report, Coun Peter Greenhalgh, the cabinet member for sustainability, strategic planning, property and transport, said: “The economic situation in Swindon town centre is very serious.

“Retailers are reporting that footfall and turnover are both reducing significantly.

“In its civic leadership role, the council has a responsibility to take decisive action to help stem the decline and rebuild confidence in the town centre.

“Two possible routes for doing this are through a thorough review of car parking, including reducing charges and supporting the viability of the Union Square development to bring much needed regeneration into that part of town.

“The council is placed in an increasingly difficult position, balancing the economic well-being of the borough against the impact that any loss of revenue may have on the council’s finances.”

New figures show that the number of visitors to the town centre has plummeted in recent months – down nearly a fifth between January and February.

Some car park charges were reduced for a trial period between September 2009 and January this year and, although the council lost more than £200,000 in income, it attracted more people to the town centre.

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson welcomed the proposals.

“It’s a bold and innovative move which I fully support, and will be a real boost to the town centre,” he said.

“Not only will it help existing retailers, but it’ll send a clear signal to developers that we take the Swindon seriously.

“The town centre is ripe for regeneration, and this move should really help that process.”

Swindon Advertiser 04/06/10

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