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Traders appeal for free parking
7:00am Friday 4th May 2012 in News
NORTH Oxfordshire traders have renewed calls for free parking after a controversial out-of-town retail park was approved.
Traders say the move would boost takings after a major retail park was approved for Banbury.
They want three hours free parking in Cherwell District Council’s 22 car parks in locations from Kidlington to Banbury.
Tony Douglas, of Henry’s menswear, in Sheep Street, Bicester, backed a new petition, saying: “The council will tell you that they can’t give free parking otherwise they have to put up the rates.
“But if the town centre has been supporting the rates for so long it’s time the rates supported the town centre.”
Lynn Wright, of Bicester Beds, Market Square, Bicester, said: “Without town centres there is no heart to the community.”
Traders fear approved plans for a retail park at Banbury motorsport firm Prodrive, to include free parking, will suck trade from the town.
Barry Whitehouse, owner of craft shop The Artery in Church Lane, said: “Prodrive will bring more people to the area.
“However, if they are having to have free parking, we need to have a level playing field.”
And he pointed to free parking run by neighbouring South Northamptonshire and West Oxfordshire district councils.
Cherwell district deputy council leader George Reynolds said the council was re-examining free parking.”