A decision taken by the Labour administration back in February this year will see the abolition of the free parking hour in the towns’ local shopping centres come into effect in September this year.
Cllr Russell Perrin Shadow Portfolio Holder Regeneration is leading the Conservatives call for Harlow Council to reverse their decision to abolish free parking. Cllr Perrin says “The first free hour parking in local shopping centres such as those at the Stow, Bush Fair and Old Harlow is crucial for local business. Parking charges for over one hour were introduced to prevent people who were not shopping at the local shopping centres from parking all day and clogging up the car parks, which was driving shoppers away and harming business. The move was successful. The free parking hour was seen as a way to encourage people to use their local shops and to allow people to visit their local GP or dental practice. Since the introduction of the free parking hour local businesses have benefited from increased trade which has helped the local economy. By abolishing the free parking hour people will increasingly turn to supermarkets and out of town retailers to do their shopping where parking is free.”
The move to abolish free parking will also affect the poorest in the community. Cllr Perrin says “Anyone wishing to visit their local GP will also be affected. Labour is propping up council finances off the back of some of the poorest people in the community. Labour has not consulted on this issue. Nearly 800 people have signed my petition on Change.org calling for Labour to stop this ridiculous decision from coming into effect. Labour must listen.”
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