(This was sent to the Harrogate Advertiser and published on 19th June).
We all know that:
- The internet is affecting the high street.
- A new rates system would make a big difference – but that’s a matter for central government.
- Rents are too high and not sustainable.
But how can, and what are NYCC and HBC doing to help a difficult situation?
- Traffic congestion getting into the town, ease of parking at your destination and paying for the privilege are barriers to shoppers – those are FACTS.
- Morpeth – free parking initiative – increased business by 25% – that is a FACT.
- Alnwick – free parking initiative – increased business – FACT.
- Newcastle – free parking initiative – increased business – FACT.
- Malton – free parking initiative – business is thriving, Malton is buzzing – FACT.
- Northallerton – free parking for 30 minutes, busy shops/restaurants – FACT.
- Richmond – free parking – FACT.
- 1,500 people (and counting) in Harrogate support free parking http://chng.it/5z6CTrFq – FACT.
- Arkwright’s – experienced a 40% drop in Sunday turnover when parking charges were introduced – FACT.
So why don’t NYCC and HBC try free parking in Harrogate? Lead the way with a blueprint for other towns and take action now before we end up like Darlington, probably too little, too late.
The town, your town, needs your help. We all want the best for Harrogate.