‘The fight is on’, Isle of Wight businesses have vowed, after plans were announced to remove free parking in key locations in Newport and Ryde.
Parking across the Island could become more expensive as plans were announced on Wednesday for on-street charging in Crocker Street and Nodehill in Newport, Union Street in Ryde and on all esplanades.
‘Re-zoning’ Union Street
On Union Street, parking meters could be installed, but another option being considered by the authority is ‘re-zoning’ the street.
Union Street is currently split into several different parking zones, each allowing motorists free parking for a limited period.
After the time is up, motorists can move their vehicle from one parking zone to another to enjoy extended free parking.
The council has said creating a single parking zone on Union Street would close this loophole.
RBA: “The fight is on”
A spokesperson for Ryde Business Association said they would be challenging this decision:
“We heard in the government budget only this week how business rate relief will be extended to help the UK’s high streets, that’s all very well, but giving with one hand to take away with another is simply ridiculous. The fight is on.”
NBA: “Half an hour turnover keeps the street busy”
John McLaughlin is chair of the Newport Business Association and his wife runs Take Two Hairdressers. He said the changes would destroy the ‘lively atmosphere’ in Nodehill.
“This morning we have seen a UPS guy popping into the shops, a man cleaning windows — the half an hour turnover is so quick, it keeps the street busy.
“Adding a charge will stop people from just popping in to grab a newspaper, or buy fish and chips. What will they make from the street and at what cost? They are not on the side of small businesses.”
He finished by saying
“They’ve announced it right before Christmas because people are too tired to fight it.”
IWC: Introducing “an element of fairness”
Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Resources, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, member for finance on the council cabinet, said:
“In some towns on-street parking is free and in others it’s paid for. We are trying to introduce an element of fairness.
“The other thing introducing charges will bring is increased turnover in those areas where we levy a charge. So in those areas where people are parking for free all day, they will only park for a short period of time because they will have to pay for it.”
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed