Parking scheme renewal would give shops hope

REWARD LOYALTY Traders are urging Kirklees Council to extend Dewsbury's free parking scheme.
REWARD LOYALTY Traders are urging Kirklees Council to extend Dewsbury's free parking scheme.
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TRADERS in Dewsbury are urging Kirklees Council to continue a free parking scheme which rewards shoppers for their loyalty.

The parking voucher scheme is due to end next month, but no decision has been made on whether it will be extended.

Chamber of Trade president Trish Makepeace said: “We all know what the parking issues are like in Dewsbury. We’re glad of any free parking that we can get.

“Any little modicum of hope like keeping the free parking is something we can give to shops and customers to try to keep them loyal. It really is important that we keep it.”

She said traders needed all the support they could during such challenging times for the local economy.

“At the moment everybody goes to places where there is free parking,” she said. “It’s not just Heckmondwike and Batley, it’s these out-of-town shopping centres. It’s not a fair playing field.”

The scheme was set up in 2009 after years of campaigning by the Chamber and Dewsbury Market Traders’ Association.

Customers who buy something from a participating shop or market stall are given a voucher for three hours free parking in Cliffe Street car park on their next visit.

Traders say the scheme is popular with many shoppers, but delays in renewing it last year caused problems and sparked complaints.

A council spokeswoman this week said: “A decision on the Cliffe Street scheme is expected later this month and will be announced shortly. No delays or issues for shoppers are anticipated.”

Meanwhile, at a Chamber of Trade meeting on Monday, fears were raised that parking charges in the town could rise.

But the council’s spokeswoman ruled that out.

“There are no plans to increase parking charges in Dewsbury or to introduce charges where these do not currently apply,” she said.