MORE than 2,000 people in Winslow have signed a petition against the planned introduction of car parking charges.
Winslow woman Ruth Ash launched the petition at the beginning of August, and gathered them in at the start of this month.
A total of 2,186 people have signed – almost half of the town’s 4,500 population – including 47 local business owners.
Ms Ash says local traders are becoming increasingly worried about the impact on trade once Aylesbury Vale District Council brings in charges to the town’s Greyhound Lane car park.
“Some businesses in Buckingham have reported losses of up to 40 per cent of turnover as a result of car park charges being introduced there,” said Ms Ash.
“In the current economic climate, businesses just can’t weather these kind of losses. I can tell you, AVDC will be getting a lot of letters this week.”
Heather Mitchell, who runs High Street store ESG Build-In Supplies, is one local trader who has written to AVDC to register her strong opposition to the proposal.
She said: “I am lucky in that I have my own parking space for my car. However, my business relies on local tradespeople buying their supplies from my shop. I believe that the re-introduction of car parking charges into Greyhound Lane Car Park will have a hugely negative impact on my business and other local shops and businesses in Winslow, at a time when we need all the help we can get to keep going during these difficult economic times. Local tradespeople will get their supplies elsewhere – Focus, B&Q, Homebase – where parking is free.
“Many people live outside but work in Winslow. Few can afford to continue to do so if they have to find an extra £50 per month for parking.”
Sarah Harrison, who runs High Street salon Aristocuts, has also written to AVDC to say: “Reintroducing the parking charges will affect my and all Winslow businesses. Employers and employees work hard at keeping shops open in a small town. The added costs of parking fees will only discourage people from using our beautiful High Street.
“Running businesses is getting ever harder for us small guys. Please look at the implications of what this means for Winslow businesses before more taxpayers’ money is wasted on a project which already failed once before.”
Ms Ash is waiting for AVDC to announce the start of its official consultation period before presenting the petition.
She said: “Given the strength of the feeling about this issue, I would implore AVDC to relook at this, listen to local people and find a way to meet our needs and concerns.”
An AVDC spokesman said: “We are hoping to begin the consultation process this month. The public notice will be published in the Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser.”