The introduction of parking charges for streets in Newport and Ryde have been called ‘another nail in the coffin for small business’ by traders in both towns.
Shop owners have also accused the Isle of Wight Council of failing to support independent shops, or having a consistent parking strategy and have vowed the ‘fight is on’.
Parking across the Island could become more expensive if the authority’s budget plans are approved in February.
Released last week — four months earlier than planned — the papers outline proposals for on-street charging in Crocker Street and Nodehill in Newport, Union Street in Ryde, and on all esplanades.
However, traders in Newport and Ryde have said the plans will mean less spaces on the streets, and less customers in their shops.
Love Running: Every customer outraged
Jo Randall, from Love Running, Newport, said:
“Every customer that has come through the door has been outraged the parking spaces could be going.
“It’s a shortsighted approach. Suddenly inflicting charges where there were none won’t mean the same people are going to be parking there and paying those fees. They will be parking elsewhere, or just not coming into town.”
RBA: Consultation recommendations not considered
Plans for Union Street could include the installation of parking ticket machines, or the rezoning of the street.
Chair of Ryde Business Association, Zoe Thompson, said:
“A consultation was paid for by the Isle of Wight Council in 2016.
“Within that document there are number of recommendations. We don’t think any of those recommendations have been considered at all.
“There needs to be a strategy when it comes to parking in our towns.”
Hutchinson: “Trying to introduce an element of fairness”
Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Resources, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, 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.”
New charges will impact business
However, traders in Nodehill have said these charges will decrease turnover if the 30 minutes free parking is removed.
Owner of Ralph’s Health shop, Bill McComb said:
“If people have got to pay for this parking instead of using the 30 minutes to have a very quick shop, they will spend the time they have spent their money by leaving their cars here.
“It will make the parking situation worse.
“The council give us nothing. We get nothing for our rates, we don’t even get rubbish collection. But now they are trying to destroy our business by ensuring that people who do come here, will not park their cars here.”
Cllr Hutchinson said these claims were the ‘opinion’ of the traders.
The plans will go before cabinet tomorrow (Thursday). If approved, they will open for consultation with opposition councillors, before going before full council in February.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed