Out of town trading is more of a threat to local businesses than a rise in car parking charges.
That’s according to Elliot Wallis, chairman of Shop Buckingham. Mr Wallis was reacting to the news that Ayesbury Vale District Council has hailed last year’s changes to parking in Buckingham town centre a success and has adopted them permanently.
He said: “For most of us it has not affected trade and in some cases some of us are even doing better because people now have time to kill. When they only had a free hour they rushed around trying to get everything done.
“They went to the essential shops but did not have time to look round the destination shops.”
There had been fears the introduction of a 50p charge to park at Cornwall Meadows, where parking had previously been free for the first hour, would put off shoppers from coming in to the town centre.
Mr Wallis thinks out of town shopping, and problems with the ring road works by Tesco are more of a problem.
He said: “The service works are essential but it is dangerous. Once people have been out of town they will keep doing it.”
AVDC says the reintroduction of free parking at Western Avenue and Stratford Fields has ‘proved to be popular with both car parks regularly full’.
Councillor Brian Roberts, cabinet member for civic amenities, said: “While there were some early complaints about the new system, which is expected when a tariff increases, this has been more than offset by the positive comments we have received.
“It appears that people parking in Cornwall’s Meadow are no longer rushing to return to their vehicle within one hour, are spending longer in the town and also visiting the outer areas.”