Hessle traders back plan to keep free parking
TRADERS in Hessle are backing plans to keep free parking in the town.
East Riding Council is planning to introduce charges at all of its car parks across the county where parking is currently free.
But Hessle Town Council wants to take over the running of car parks in the town and keep them free.
If given the go-ahead, residents in the town would face having to pay about £14 a year extra through their council tax.
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The proposed transfer moved a step closer this week when town councillors agreed to continue negotiations with East Riding officials after the results of a recent consultation showed 80 per cent of respondents in favour of the move.
Pet shop owner Janice Parker, who runs a business in Prestongate, said: "I have been here 35 years and times have never been tougher for traders.
"If parking charges were brought in, it would be a disaster for a lot of shops in Hessle.
"There are plenty of empty shops at the moment and it would only get worse.
"As well as working here, I also live in Hessle and I would be more than prepared to pay a bit more through my council tax to keep car parking free."
The introduction of car parking charges was put on hold two years ago by East Riding Council after they were agreed in the face of fierce opposition.
At the time, councillors voted to put them an ice because of the economic downturn.
But they said the charges would come into force after two years if there were two successive quarters of national economic growth.
Growth of one per cent was recorded in the last quarter and a repeat for the three months to December would mean the parking charges being brought in next April.
Hessle Town Council chairman Councillor Phil Davison said: "The council has always made it clear to Hessle residents and to East Riding Council that it would fight these charges.
"More than 80 per cent of responses from the recent consultation supported the campaign.
"The town council will now look at the details of the East Riding draft lease for the car parks and will ensure the lease only comes into effect when the East Riding starts charging elsewhere.
"We will make every effort to keep the cost to residents in line with the suggested average charge per household.
"As a council, we are determined to protect the viability and vitality of the town centre and we are delighted to have the support of traders in this aim."
The free parking plan will cover two cars parks off Hessle Square and parking at Hessle Foreshore.
Cllr Davison said the town council needed to raise £80,000 to pay for the lease but hinted this figure could be reduced depending on the outcome of talks with East Riding Council.
"If we get an agreement, we will be the only place in the East Riding where parking will remain free. Unfortunately, the East Riding seems determined to destroy local shopping centres."