‘FREE parking after 4pm’ was one suggestion put to parking officials at a recent discussion on car parking provision in Uttoxeter.
Philip Somerfield, head of regulatory services at East Staffordshire Borough Council said there were no current plans to make changes to Uttoxeter car parking but the new Labour administration would be ‘reviewing car parking provision’ across all of East Staffordshire.
Questions were also raised about whether the leisure centre car park could be made free again when it reopens.
Mr Somerfield said: “There has been a recent change of administration at the council and we are closely working with Julian Mott and his team to bring forward the new corporate plan.
“We are not offering free car parking as it stands – we have a balanced budget across town and are reliant on car parking income to generate an income receipt – it’s as simple as that.”
Councillor Martin Blencowe said: “We’ve noticed we are a morning town in general, the vast majority of people tend to come into town before 3pm.
“The Derbyshire Dales have a policy where charges are released at 4pm to extend the day.
“If it works there, could it work here?”
Graeme Jones, leader of the town team said: “What we’d love to see in town is a section of the day where car parking is free – perhaps two hours between 12 noon and 2pm, or on the afternoons of Wednesday, Friday and Saturday when there is a lull in footfall.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get all of the car parking free in town but an arrangement where car parking is on offer can only be good for town traders.”
Following the meeting, Councillor Alan Noyes said: “Fairfield was underused before the changes were made so it makes sense for it to be made a free car park – it’s a no-brainer.
“The usage has been good so far, it’s half full every day of people working in town because there was nowhere free for them to park before.
“Our main concern is the leisure centre car park, it used to be free, we think that it should be available for free again when it all reopens as most people parking there are getting their money back from using the leisure centre. People having to pay to go to Bramshall Road Park is wrong. I also think we should bring back the free half-hour in the town centre.”