Reporter: Richard Hooton
Date online: 10 August 2009
OLDHAM town centre businesses and shoppers will get a credit crunch-busting boost today.
In a bid to ease the financial strain, on-street car parking charges have been slashed by at least half.
The move, which is anticipated to cost up to £100,000, is being funded by Oldham Council’s Credit Crunch War Cabinet’s Rapid Intervention Fund.
It follows concerns expressed at meetings of the Oldham Business Improvement District (BID) and Oldham Town Centre Partnership that parking charges were unreasonably high and driving away customers.
The new charges are: Up to 15 minutes — 20p (was 40p); Up to 30 minutes — 40p (80p); Up to one hour — 70p (£1.40); Up to one hour and 30 minutes — £1.10 (£2.30). The maximum stay has been extended by 30 minutes to two hours — for a £1.50 fee.
Councillor Lynne Thompson, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “It is crucial that Oldham Council listens to and acts upon the genuine concerns of traders and residents who use the town centre.
“The War Cabinet was established with the Oldham Partnership as somewhere we can build genuine support for all sectors of our community who are facing the harsh realities of this recession.
“An important part of that was to identify ways that we could play a positive role in helping secure the future of independent local traders who are concentrated in areas outside the core of the town centre like Yorkshire Street, Union Street and George Street.
“Customers are more likely to visit their shops specifically for a one-off visit rather than browsing and we’re confident — based on what traders and shoppers have told us — that slashing these charges will help promote the health of the High Street.”
Paul Hughes, owner of fashion store Zutti, lobbied hard for the prices to be reduced and was delighted with the council’s response.
He said: “Charging for parking on the street is imperative, it can’t be free. In the past it’s been extortionately expensive. Our charges have been 40 per cent higher than the most beautiful parts of Manchester. Now they are 40 per cent cheaper than Manchester and most parts of the North-West.
“The charges are just perfect. People will have no excuse not to come in to the town. If anyone gets a parking ticket for not paying 20p then they deserve it.”
Have Your Say