Free Saturday parking axed in Rochford and Rayleigh town centres

traders Colin Maclean, Carl Watson and Lesley Dunne with Rayleigh Chamber of Trade president, Jeff Stanton in Rayleigh’s Websters Way car park

traders Colin Maclean, Carl Watson and Lesley Dunne with Rayleigh Chamber of Trade president, Jeff Stanton in Rayleigh’s Websters Way car park

First published in Echo News by

SHOPPERS and traders are outraged at Rochford Council plans to charge motorists 25 per cent more to use its car parks and bring in new Saturday charges.

Under the increases motorists will have to pay £1 an hour instead of 80p.

Rayleigh Chamber of Trade president Carl Watson is one of those who is furious about the move, which he described as a blow to the district.

He explained: “Hockley and Rochford are still struggling towns, and while Rayleigh has improved in terms of the number of visitors, it would be detrimental to the district.

“I understand why the council wants to raise more revenue, but it’s a shame it has to be through parking charges.”

The increases could be the first ofa series of rises which the council hopes will see it rake in about £1.4million a year in parking charges by 2018/19.

However, the council insists plans to charge for Saturday afternoon parking are not just to boost its coffers.

It says it is “to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors”.

Hockley’s chamber of trade president Jeff Stanton who runs the Waters and Stanton electronics store in Main Road is aghast at the increase.

He said: “The last thing businesses in Hockley want at the moment is a deterrent to shoppers and visitors, and that is what this would be. Even though we are out of the recession now, businesses are still struggling.”

Colin Maclean, who runs Amos estates in Rayleigh High Street, garnered a welter of critical comments after posting details of the plans on the social networking website Facebook.

In the space of 14 hours, more than 100 people commented, most criticising the proposal.

Mr Maclean said he hopes the charges would not have too much of an effect on trade.

He added: “There’s is a fine line between councils balancing the books and attracting people to town centres.

“Given a choice, no one wants to pay anything, but if people are only staying here for an hour , on average, then I’m hoping an extra 20p will not be enough to push them out to Lakeside.”

The new charges were discussed at a full council meeting on Tuesday night where councillors agreed to introduce them.

A report published in October by the Government's Commons Transport Select Committee said there was a “deep-rooted” public perception councils used parking charges to raise funds.

Comments (12)

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6:28pm Thu 30 Jan 14

QuestionTime says...

Short sighted, greedy, and a take, take, take council!
What are our local MP's doing to for their constituents........
.oh yes that's right.......NOTHING!
Short sighted, greedy, and a take, take, take council! What are our local MP's doing to for their constituents........ .oh yes that's right.......NOTHING! QuestionTime
  • Score: 7

6:38pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Keptquiettillnow says...

No such thing as free parking, someone has to pay, bit unfair to make people pay for something thay are not using.
No such thing as free parking, someone has to pay, bit unfair to make people pay for something thay are not using. Keptquiettillnow
  • Score: -5

6:50pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Democrat says...

Well I guess I'll just have to shop at out of town stores with free parking and let Rochford shops die. Or, they make parking free for the first hour EVERY day so that business improves enough to pay slightly more business rates. Or, we just vote out the losers.
Well I guess I'll just have to shop at out of town stores with free parking and let Rochford shops die. Or, they make parking free for the first hour EVERY day so that business improves enough to pay slightly more business rates. Or, we just vote out the losers. Democrat
  • Score: 6

6:53pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Gridlock2 says...

Quote 'It says it is “to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors”.'

Well they will achieve their stupid aim there - there will be plenty of empty spaces. To go along with empty shops quite soon I would imagine. The council would rather satisfy their greed than have thriving town centres.
Quote 'It says it is “to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors”.' Well they will achieve their stupid aim there - there will be plenty of empty spaces. To go along with empty shops quite soon I would imagine. The council would rather satisfy their greed than have thriving town centres. Gridlock2
  • Score: 10

7:23pm Thu 30 Jan 14

QuestionTime says...

25% increase plus the 10,000% (think this is right) increase on Saturday afternoons, how does this help the people who have to use the car parks when at work, doubt their pay packets will see any increase!
25% increase plus the 10,000% (think this is right) increase on Saturday afternoons, how does this help the people who have to use the car parks when at work, doubt their pay packets will see any increase! QuestionTime
  • Score: 4

7:27pm Thu 30 Jan 14

InTheKnowOk says...

They're shooting themselves in the foot if you ask me ..
They're shooting themselves in the foot if you ask me .. InTheKnowOk
  • Score: 7

7:36pm Thu 30 Jan 14

stonybrig says...

wont be shopping in rochford anymore,why cant RDC see what the affect this will have on the small business,s around the town, IDIOTS !!!!
wont be shopping in rochford anymore,why cant RDC see what the affect this will have on the small business,s around the town, IDIOTS !!!! stonybrig
  • Score: 6

8:59pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Mattster says...

Sadly local councils are largely populated by incompetent, arrogant, self serving morons and RDC is no exception. The proposals will impact negatively on the town.
Sadly local councils are largely populated by incompetent, arrogant, self serving morons and RDC is no exception. The proposals will impact negatively on the town. Mattster
  • Score: 0

9:10pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Nebs says...

Mattster wrote:
Sadly local councils are largely populated by incompetent, arrogant, self serving morons and RDC is no exception. The proposals will impact negatively on the town.
The council staff will still get their paychecks every month. Why should they worry about small businesses.
[quote][p][bold]Mattster[/bold] wrote: Sadly local councils are largely populated by incompetent, arrogant, self serving morons and RDC is no exception. The proposals will impact negatively on the town.[/p][/quote]The council staff will still get their paychecks every month. Why should they worry about small businesses. Nebs
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Britanniaman says...

I think there's a Doctor's surgery at that car park what people need to use so they know some people have no choice to pay when going to see the Doctor.
I think there's a Doctor's surgery at that car park what people need to use so they know some people have no choice to pay when going to see the Doctor. Britanniaman
  • Score: 0

6:32am Fri 31 Jan 14

You'dfeelbetterforknowingthat says...

You wanna park in this metropollis you pay
You wanna park in this metropollis you pay You'dfeelbetterforknowingthat
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Ray1963 says...

However, the council insists plans to charge for Saturday afternoon parking are not just to boost its coffers.

It says it is “to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors”.

The car park in Back Lane is virtually empty on Saturday afternoons anyway so why the need to make more spaces available?
However, the council insists plans to charge for Saturday afternoon parking are not just to boost its coffers. It says it is “to encourage the turnover of parking and make available more spaces for visitors”. The car park in Back Lane is virtually empty on Saturday afternoons anyway so why the need to make more spaces available? Ray1963
  • Score: 1

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