Braintree: Traders fear increased car parking charges could kill High Street

Braintree and Witham Times: Carol Thistlethwaite, owner of Sweet Memories, in Market Street, was among those angered by the proposals Carol Thistlethwaite, owner of Sweet Memories, in Market Street, was among those angered by the proposals

Angry traders fear proposals to increase car parking tariffs could kill Braintree town centre.

Braintree Council announced in August that it needed to make further budget cuts to close a £1.5million shortfall across 2015/16 and 2016/17, following a reduction in central government funding.

A breakdown of how the council proposes to make the savings has now been revealed, with increased parking charges among the ideas put forward.

The council has refused to disclose the amount tariffs could rise but described them as “reasonable increases to bring us in line with other authorities”.

Independent businesses claim the charges, which could raise an extra £80,000 in 2014/15, would drive people to supermarkets and out of town retail parks.

Comments (7)

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3:14pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Jack222 says...

Why? Everywhere has parking charges. And such charges keep our rates down.

No-one worries about parking charges IF the shops are good enough.
Why? Everywhere has parking charges. And such charges keep our rates down. No-one worries about parking charges IF the shops are good enough. Jack222

3:44pm Fri 13 Dec 13

YNWAIE says...

We live over a mile away and normally always walk to town.....even my 6 year old...too many people these says reach for their car keys ...Fair enough if you are buying some bulky heavy stuff but the majority don't
We live over a mile away and normally always walk to town.....even my 6 year old...too many people these says reach for their car keys ...Fair enough if you are buying some bulky heavy stuff but the majority don't YNWAIE

4:14pm Fri 13 Dec 13

pierre-pierre says...

how do you kill something that is already dead?
how do you kill something that is already dead? pierre-pierre

11:54pm Fri 13 Dec 13

OMPITA [Intl] says...

I have a vivid imagination and I readily confess that all too often it gets me into hot water, but please tell me I’m not imagining that only two days before this news item was published it was preceded by an earlier one which reported on how the High Streets’ Minister Mr Brandon Lewis MP was extolling the virtues of Braintree’s current parking policy.

He was reported as having heaped praise on Braintree Council’s ‘10p after 3’ incentive and more or less held Braintree up as a shining example to other councils who he castigated for simply seeing the issue of parking as a ‘cash cow’.

Now only just two days on we are told that Braintree Council seeks to follow the example (or should that be jump on the band wagon?) of the other authorities and no longer take the lead in championing the cause so lauded by the Minister.

Crikey! - two days certainly is a long time in local politics!
I have a vivid imagination and I readily confess that all too often it gets me into hot water, but please tell me I’m not imagining that only two days before this news item was published it was preceded by an earlier one which reported on how the High Streets’ Minister Mr Brandon Lewis MP was extolling the virtues of Braintree’s current parking policy. He was reported as having heaped praise on Braintree Council’s ‘10p after 3’ incentive and more or less held Braintree up as a shining example to other councils who he castigated for simply seeing the issue of parking as a ‘cash cow’. Now only just two days on we are told that Braintree Council seeks to follow the example (or should that be jump on the band wagon?) of the other authorities and no longer take the lead in championing the cause so lauded by the Minister. Crikey! - two days certainly is a long time in local politics! OMPITA [Intl]

4:55pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Linzi991 says...

How is it that you can park pretty much anywhere in Suffolk for free using Council car parks, but in Essex, there is ano chance of that? In Sudbury you can park for 3 hours for NOTHING! Making increases to car parking isn't the way forwards. We should be encouraging people to visit the town, not pushing them away!
How is it that you can park pretty much anywhere in Suffolk for free using Council car parks, but in Essex, there is ano chance of that? In Sudbury you can park for 3 hours for NOTHING! Making increases to car parking isn't the way forwards. We should be encouraging people to visit the town, not pushing them away! Linzi991

11:12am Tue 17 Dec 13

Spirit13 says...

Parking is a complex issue and whilst it would seem that making parking free or drastically reducing the price is a good way forward, caution must be the order of the day. I remember I used to have to attend Broomfield Hospital on a daily basis and noticed that on my early appointments that there were many many people that parked their car there and then caught the bus into Chelmsford because the hospital rates were much lower than the town. Is it possible that if the Braintree District car parks were free or much cheaper you would have commuters filling them up or people parking in the town centre to catch the freeport hopper bus because it is much less hassle so there is no real advantage there. Perhaps it would be a great gesture to have the car parks free for December and that way hopefully a few more people will come into the town centre, but I doubt it. The whole town centre, high street issues need careful addressing and other comments I've seen collectively have the answers. I came into Braintree for the Christmas Fayre and I had a great time but felt really let down by the lack festive cheer by the shops. Staff weren't very welcoming, didn't make an effort to dress up, and what on earth was going on in George yard !!! Nothing, that's what except for a small choir that were trying their very hardest to raise some Christmas cheer. I know all this costs money but bring on the Christmas cheer and make people want to be here instead of the half hearted effort that the shops made and the inflated prices. Braintree District Council did a great job on this day and tried to instill the festive cheer but they had their work cut out. I paid £3 for a soggy mess that pretended to be a burger. It was virtually unedible. Where were our regular burger vans that offer a good quality double cheeseburger for the same amount? My gripe isn't about burgers it's the fact that there were some greedy people about that day that tried to take advantage of people's willingness to "get in the spirit". I say come on communities and sort yourselves out and this means BDC, shopkeepers, patrons. It shouldn't be too difficult to get it right.
Parking is a complex issue and whilst it would seem that making parking free or drastically reducing the price is a good way forward, caution must be the order of the day. I remember I used to have to attend Broomfield Hospital on a daily basis and noticed that on my early appointments that there were many many people that parked their car there and then caught the bus into Chelmsford because the hospital rates were much lower than the town. Is it possible that if the Braintree District car parks were free or much cheaper you would have commuters filling them up or people parking in the town centre to catch the freeport hopper bus because it is much less hassle so there is no real advantage there. Perhaps it would be a great gesture to have the car parks free for December and that way hopefully a few more people will come into the town centre, but I doubt it. The whole town centre, high street issues need careful addressing and other comments I've seen collectively have the answers. I came into Braintree for the Christmas Fayre and I had a great time but felt really let down by the lack festive cheer by the shops. Staff weren't very welcoming, didn't make an effort to dress up, and what on earth was going on in George yard !!! Nothing, that's what except for a small choir that were trying their very hardest to raise some Christmas cheer. I know all this costs money but bring on the Christmas cheer and make people want to be here instead of the half hearted effort that the shops made and the inflated prices. Braintree District Council did a great job on this day and tried to instill the festive cheer but they had their work cut out. I paid £3 for a soggy mess that pretended to be a burger. It was virtually unedible. Where were our regular burger vans that offer a good quality double cheeseburger for the same amount? My gripe isn't about burgers it's the fact that there were some greedy people about that day that tried to take advantage of people's willingness to "get in the spirit". I say come on communities and sort yourselves out and this means BDC, shopkeepers, patrons. It shouldn't be too difficult to get it right. Spirit13

4:03pm Tue 17 Dec 13

keith_l says...

This article, and the comments, have made me think. People will be spending tens or even hundreds of pounds shopping in the town centre, but yet they (including myself) are reluctant to part with a couple of quid for the car park.
This article, and the comments, have made me think. People will be spending tens or even hundreds of pounds shopping in the town centre, but yet they (including myself) are reluctant to part with a couple of quid for the car park. keith_l

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