‘It’s not all doom and gloom,’ is the message from Buckingham’s traders over the new parking charges.
Last week we reported that customers at Clay’s butchers were complaining over the 50p charge for three hours’ parking in Cornwall’s Meadow.
But a more mixed picture emerged when 17 members of Shop Buckingham – the new name for the traders’ association – discussed the issue at their meeting on Monday.
Chairman Elliot Wallis, who owns Gyre & Gimble coffee shop, said: “It came out that destination shops and restaurants had seen a marked increase in footfall and turnover.
“The restaurants are actually busier during the week.
“The shops that seem to be affected are the shops where people just nip in and out, like the butcher and pharmacies.”
Jenny Dobbs, of Well Street gift store At Home, said: “We have found that, instead of customers rushing around in their ‘free hour’ and not having time to stop and shop, they are perfectly happy to be paying 50p for three hours’ parking and are enjoying that extra time to walk around and visit the shops, cafes and other traders in the town.
“Many of our customers have said that the 50p charge is very reasonable. One lady from Aylesbury said: ‘You don’t know how lucky you are,’ especially as we have free parking on a Sunday too.”
While Shop Buckingham had been against the introduction of parking charges, Mr Wallis said it is now trying to make the best of the situation.
He said: “We totally understand people’s anger – we don’t think it’s a good idea to have to pay for parking.
“But we’re trying to work with the situation and make a positive out of a negative.
“That was one of the reasons for bringing in the Artisan Market on Sunday. By putting on more interesting events, people are coming into the town.
“There were loads of people in the town on Sunday – it was awesome, the vibe was lovely. The shops that were open were selling.”
And he added: “At the end of the day, it’s all about social purchasing conscience.
“We will do all we can to support traders and make more people come into Buckingham High Street but it’s down to the customers to support their town.”