Traders to march on county council offices in protest at Northampton car parking hikes

Terry Steers is one of many traders set to march on the county council offices later this week.
Terry Steers is one of many traders set to march on the county council offices later this week.

A 200-strong cohort of traders and Northampton are set to march on the county council headquarters thisweek - to protest at the planned hike in parking charges.

Northamptonshire County Council wants to increase the tariff for the pay and display machines in St Giles Street, Mercers Row and Abington Street from £1.20 and hour to £2.

But traders told the Chron last month that the move would "kill" the town centre. The proposals come just a few months after the borough council raised its multi-story and open-air car park charges and a matter of weeks after a report revealed footfall had fallen by some 729,449 visits over the second quarter of 2019.

Some 30 business owners have now formed a Facebook Group - Northampton Out of Order - protesting against the on-street parking charges.

Terry Steers, the owner of St Giles Ale House and one of its members, is now calling on the public to join them for a march on One Angel Square next week.

Mr Steers said: "We are sick to death of being ignored as businesses.

"Our aim is to make as much noise as possible- we need someone to see that this is not acceptible.

"We want as many people to join us as well- not just businesses but residents as well."

The traders have now gathered some 1,700 signatures on a paper petition against the parking charges - as well as a further 500 online.

Meeting at the Guildhall at noon on Friday, September 27, the marchers will make their way to the county council's headquarters in Angel Street accompanied by drums and banners.

Northamptonshire County Council did extend the consulatkin period for the proposed rises by three weeks on September 5. That period will come to an end on the day of the march.

The council says its proposals aim to "better manage the high demand for parking spaces in the most popular town centre parking locations" and "encourage the use of parking bays which are currently underused" by increasing parking costs at the most popular locations by 80p.

Of the total amount of pay and display bays in Northampton town centre, the council says 94 spaces out of 378 (25 per cent) are being proposed with a higher rate charge. All other pay and display bays would see no change.

The county council is also proposing that the duration visitors can park increases from two hours to four hours in 79 out of the 378 pay and display bays (21 per cent).

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH WITH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL :

Should you wish to comment on the proposals through the formal process you must put your views in writing no later than the 27th September 2019 to the address below quoting reference PKG/P1803:

Parking & Traffic Orders, Northamptonshire Highways, Highways Depot, Old Harborough Road, Brixworth, NN6 9BX