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Council chiefs reject call for free parking offer in town

todayOctober 19, 2021 15

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A call for free parking in Lynn has been rejected by council chiefs, despite town centre retailers saying it would bring “a real boost”.

During West Norfolk Council’s latest meeting, on Thursday afternoon, independent councillor Tom Ryves asked the authority’s deputy leader, Graham Middleton, whether the council would “show some leadership and support retail”.

“In the last council meeting I enquired about the possibility of some sort of free parking or supportive parking for the retail heart of King’s Lynn,” said Mr Ryves.

Council chiefs have resisted calls for free parking to be offered in King's Lynn town centre.
Council chiefs have resisted calls for free parking to be offered in King’s Lynn town centre.

“I was told that this would compromise the ability of this council to support weekend events.

“I’ve subsequently spoken with a number of other councils and I’ve looked at quite a large number of surveys and these all seem to indicate that retailers absolutely worship the idea of free parking, just for specific times in the year, Christmas being one of them.”

But Mr Middleton, a board member of Lynn’s Business Improvement District (BID), said: “The financial affairs of other councils and how they choose to fund different things that they do is entirely up to them.”

He said the BID tried introducing free parking at the Baker Lane car park during the Christmas shopping period three years ago.

“What happened in that instance is that by half past eight in the morning, everybody who works in the town took up the spaces,” said Mr Middleton.

He added that income from car park charges enabled the council to put on several free events for people to enjoy.

But Bernadette Chapel, manager at The Deck of Cards gift shop on the High Street, said measures should be taken to help shops like her’s.

“Free parking would be a real boost for our shop,” she said.

“They haven’t got to do busy days like Fridays or Saturdays – just a Wednesday or a Thursday, even doing an afternoon would help.”

She added: “The problem is we haven’t got an even playing field. Us in King’s Lynn against all those new shops on the outskirts.

“They’ve all got free parking. They’ve got to do something to help the town.”

Joseph Marsh, co-manager of the town’s Majestic Cinema, said his business was less affected by the issue.

But he added: “Of course, especially with the high street struggling, more free parking would only encourage people to come in.”

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todayOctober 19, 2021 15