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Town council seeks assurances over parking charges
FREE parking must be protected if Northwich town centre is to survive, according to councillors.
Parking enforcement in Vale Royal is being taken over by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) rather than being carried out by police.
This brings the area in line with the rest of west Cheshire and will put an end to the current disparity which can see a rule-breaking motorist on one road dealt with through the criminal courts, while on a neighbouring road the same incident would be classed as a civil contravention, resulting in a fine.
But Northwich Town Council is seeking assurances that this does not mean parking fees will be introduced.
Clr Brian Jamieson, a town councillor and former Vale Royal Borough councillor, said: “Officers at Vale Royal wanted to introduce charges 20 years ago, they didn’t but they did introduce shoppers’ car parks with a three-hour maximum stay.
“We should respond to this and say we fully support the benefits of civil parking enforcement but want an assurance that there will not be charges on CWAC car parks in Northwich.
“Every time the matter occurs we should say that very loud and clear because everyone knows if charges are introduced it will have a massive impact on local traders in town.
“Free parking is an inducement to come.”
Clr Louise Hough, who also works in Crafty Stitches, in Witton Street, said rules also needed to be clarified on new town centre car parks, especially that at Barons Quay.
She said: “Is the new car park planned for on top of Barons Quay supermarket going to be owned by CWAC or the supermarket?
“We have been told it will be a three-hour free car park for the shoppers but do they have to spend money in the supermarket?”
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