Visitors to Bury should be able to park for free after 3pm, so says Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Bury North Cllr Richard Baum.
The proposal to allow free parking from 3pm on Bury’s streets is designed to increase the number of visitors to the Town Centre, and help local businesses struggling through the recession.
Cllr Baum said “The Park Free After 3 campaign is a simple idea which can make a big difference to the experience of people wanting to visit Bury. There’s so much to do in the Town Centre, from the World Famous Market to the new Fusiliers’ Museum, to some big high street names. But people are put off by parking charges and our local businesses are struggling to survive this recession. I’m calling on the Council to remove parking charges from 3pm to allow more people to come to Bury and spend money with local businesses without worrying about parking fees.”
Critics say that a move to free parking after 3 will reduce income to the Council, but Cllr Baum refutes this accusation. “It’s just short-sighted thinking,” he said. “The Council may take in a bit less in parking fees, but the Town Centre will be revitalised with more people spending more money. This means higher takings for Council facilities and stronger businesses paying us rates. The Council may lose a couple of pounds per car, but visitors will spend far more than that, and at the moment they’re put off the small parking charge because it’s free to park elsewhere like the Trafford Centre. The Council has the power to re-vitalise the Town, and it should take action.”
A similar Park Free After 3 scheme in Rochdale was recently launched by the Liberal Democrat Council there, with startling success. Cllr Baum said “In Rochdale the figures speak for themselves. Since the introduction of a Park Free After 3 scheme there, footfall went up massively, and there were increases both in the value of goods bought, and the number of goods bought. Businesses in nearby towns are benefiting from this scheme and I urge Bury Council to adopt it so that we too can see the benefits.”
Cllr Baum will formally ask for Council action on his “Park Free After 3” campaign after the Council’s summer recess, but is calling for action now. “This positive and easy idea should be introduced straight away,” he said.