THE voices of the residents have finally been heard – Uttoxeter is to get its long desired free parking.
East Staffordshire Borough Council has announced to the delight of many that Fairfield Road car park will now offer 73 spaces the free of charge.
The ultimate decision to remove the pay and display requirements followed a review of car parking arrangements in Uttoxeter by the authority.
Julia Jessel (pictured), the authority’s deputy leader for regulatory services, said: “We have looked closely at our car parking arrangements in Uttoxeter and are pleased to announce that we will be offering a free parking facility at Fairfield Road.
“After two years we will review this arrangement especially in light of other parking areas at Carter Square being available and hopefully with development at Trinity Road as part of the JCB scheme.
”We will also discuss with St Josephs RC Primary School the long term future of the car park as it is used by parents for dropping off and picking up children on a daily basis.
“By doing this we are offering people the choice of low-cost town centre parking at the Maltings or free parking slightly further away at Fairfield Road. We hope by doing this more people will visit the centre.”
The news has been welcomed by free parking campaigners from across the town.
Indulgence owner David Hunter said: “It is a quality car park that has been under used since being resurfaced.
“Free car parking is a great facilitator for attracting shoppers. This is a wonderful opportunity for all retailers to promote Uttoxeter.
“I hope that we will be able to encourage the council to erect clear and prominent signs to the free parking.”
Uttoxeter mayor Hugh Montgomery said he was ‘extremely glad’ the town now has one free car park.
Community champion Jerry Latham said: “It may help people that are working in Uttoxeter and need to park for the whole day. It is free parking so this is a good thing.
“What it doesn’t do is it doesn’t particularly help the high street. However, it is a beginning and I am glad to have it.”
Parking campaigner David Denny added: “It is a step in the right direction. As many groups and individuals in the town have stated publicly, the cost and availability of parking is a major factor in regenerating the town centre.
“The car park is a long walk to the town centre. I have my personal doubts that a substantial amount of visitors, other than those who work in the town centre, will use it other than those who currently clog up the roads around there and that’s what I believe it is being made free for.”