No More Free Parking In St Neots?

Parking charges could be introduced at a car park in St Neots.

At the moment, it's free to park all day in the Riverside car park.

Huntingdonshire District Council is now proposing to provide 38 spaces for shoppers to park for free for up to two hours, and charge for people to park in the remaining 200 spaces.

However, the council's overview and scrutiny panel has a number of concerns about the proposals, so the decision has been "called in" for a council vote.

The panel argues that allowing just two hours free parking in limited spaces would:

  • lead to more cars parking in areas adjacent to the car park and increased use of town centre car parks
  • create additional congestion in the High Street and town centre
  • increase pollution in the High Street, an area identified by environmental health as above acceptable levels
  • exacerbate the reduction in retail footfall currently being experienced in St Neots
  • reduce visitors and tourism opportunities.

The panel is asking the council to reconsider allowing three hours of free parking in the whole of Riverside car park.

Alan Huckell, a director of St Neots store Barretts, believes making people pay to park will simply drive them elsewhere.

He said: "Our competition in St Neots doesn't necessarily come from the shop next door, it actually comes from other shopping centres.

People from St Neots will go to Bedford, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Cambridge, so we need to do whatever we can as a town to keep shoppers in St Neots."

The changes are part of the council's plan to raise extra money to cover a budget shortfall.

Huntingdonshire District Council will make a decision on the proposals today.

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