'Enough is enough': Northampton's shopowners march on county council over on-street parking charge hike

Northampton's shop owners marched on the county council today to demand a rethink on a proposed hike in on-street parking charges in the town centre.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 4:14 pm
A protest group made up of Northampton's businesses marched on One Angel Square today.

A consultation ends today (September 27) over a Northamptonshire County Council plan to increase the tariff for pay-and-display machines in St Giles Street, Mercers Row and Abington Street - some of the busiest streets in town - from £1.20 to £2 an hour.

But the idea has been rejected by Northampton's traders and businesses who say the new prices will "kill the town centre" and drive off visitors and shoppers.

And today, over 60 people from the town's businesses - under the banner of "Northampton Out of Order" - protested the plan by marching under the name from the Guildhall to One Angel Square to present a 2,000-signature petition against the proposal.

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A protest group made up of Northampton's businesses marched on One Angel Square today.

Organiser and owner of St Gile's Ale House Terry Steers said: "We hope to get the council to listen to the people of Northampton. Enough is enough.

"We see no logic behind the charges. We just think they need more money.

"This march goes to show that we as a town of businesses have had enough and they are out of order."

Dozens of Northampton businesses turned out to the march, including staff from Nuovo, Montague Jeffery, St Gile's Music, Stefan's Jewellers, the Mail Coach, Marmaris, and Games Workshop - just to name a few.

St Gile's Ale House owner Terry Steers called for the march over a proposed hike in parking charges.

Julie Tuckman, owner of Vintage Guru Emporium in St Giles Street, said: "I have 89 traders who sell in my shop that need to park outside to unload their goods. We get more comments about the parking than anything else.

"I think most of us just want to see free parking or at least reasonable parking at certain times of the day."

The march ended at One Angel Square where the 2,000-signature petition was presented to cabinet member for highways, Councillor Jason Smithers.

He told the Chronicle and Echo: "I'm pleased these business owners have marched down here to put their point over.

Pay-and-display machines in Abington Street, St Giles Street and Mercers Row could go up to 2 an hour.

"I want to emphasise that the charges increase is not a made decision. We have listened to business owners' concerns.

"We would not do anything to jeopardise their businesses or the vitality of the town centre."

Councillor Smithers said he expected the results of the consultation to be published and commented on within the next two weeks.

A total of 94 parking bays would be affected by the proposed increase, making up 25 per cent of all on-street spaces in the town.

Over 60 people from dozens of town centre businesses turned out for the march.

The county council hopes that raising the charges on these bays will encourage drivers to use less-popular bays outside of town centre.

The consultation comes at a time when cameras between April and June 2019 recorded footfall had fallen in Northampton by 729,449 in comparison with 2018 figures.

A 2,000-signature petition protesting the charges was handed in to Cabinet member Jason Smithers.
The consultation on the charges, which closed today, will be published in two weeks.