Wed, 18 Sept 2019
AN attempt to extend free parking in Newbury to help businesses and the “struggling” charter market has been blocked.
In a bid to help increase footfall on Thursdays – market day – Martha Vickers (Lib Dem, Newbury Central) asked whether West Berkshire Council would reconsider introducing free parking in the Wharf car park.
But Mrs Vickers’ request was turned down.
At a meeting last Thursday, West Berkshire Council’s executive member for transport, Richard Somner (Con, Tilehurst South and Holybrook), said that there was an “adequate supply” of free 30-minute parking in the town centre and surrounding streets.
“A lot of these locations are immediately adjacent to the shops and offer immediate access to the market area on market days and evidence suggests that motorists take full advantage of the free parking concession,” he said.
“For those wishing to spend longer in the town centre, parking for up to one hour at the above locations will cost only £1.”
Mr Somner said that parking charges were competitive compared to neighbouring town centres, adding that he saw “no need for further free parking provision to be made available at the council’s Wharf car park or other car parks at this time.”
Not impressed, Mrs Vickers said that free parking in the Wharf car park, one of the closest to the market and with only about 20 spaces, “would really assist the town centre shops and the market and I think this council supports the viability of the historic charter market, which is struggling along with town centre shops. It would show your support for this important service.”
She asked whether the council had assessed the financial impact and whether the authority thought it would be a worthwhile gesture.
“I think the answer I provided is the answer. I think there is provision,” Mr Somner replied.
“Thank you for your answer but I’m disappointed,” Mrs Vickers said.