MP calls for an hour of free parking to help high street recover


MP Esther McVey says introducing an hours free parking in Wilmslow could increase footfall into the town centre and help the high street recover from the pandemic.

The MP surveyed 20 to 22 small businesses in the town and says the results showed parking was a major concern among all respondents who believed parking charges are too high and reinstated too soon after lockdown.

Ms McVey said: "Businesses are telling me parking prices are having a detrimental effect on them. Parking prices in Wilmslow are more expensive than other areas which is deterring people from shopping there. Not only are charges too high for customers, but traders are having to pay large sums every day to park to work.

"One solution could be offering an hour free parking which could increase footfall in the area and it is an issue I will be discussing with Cheshire East Council. Businesses have really suffered throughout the pandemic and we need to be creative in ways to help them and by making a small change it could make a huge difference to the number of people they get through the door each day. As we recover, we all need to support our local shops and businesses to help keep people in jobs and put money back into our local economy."

Ms McVey will now be speaking with local councillors and Cheshire East bosses to see what can be done regarding parking and initiatives to increase footfall in the area.

Wilmslow Councillor Hannan Sarwar said: "Speaking to business it is very clear that the parking charges are impacting footfall. Alarmingly, nearly all businesses felt that the parking charges were too high. This is very concerning.

"In response to the survey, all respondents stated that more needed to be done to increase footfall in the Town Centre. It is clear that more needs to be done. The businesses have set a clear directive about they feel is needed and as the Conservative Group on Wilmslow Town Council, we will be looking into ways in which we can enable this."

The survey from Ms McVey asked businesses their views on how Government supported them throughout the pandemic and what more needs to be done to keep staff in jobs as the country begins its recovery.

Other issues raised by Wilmslow businesses including fixing the gate on Grove Street and ensuring it is closed between 10am and 4pm, tackling business rates and encouraging more shops to set up in the town.

What you do you think about the call for a free hours parking? Would it encourage you to shop more in Wilmslow? Share your views via the comment box below.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Andy Brown
Sunday 25th October 2020 at 2:17 pm
I'm pretty sure an hours free parking won't break the bank when you are parking a hundred thousand pound five litre Range Rover.
Duncan Herald
Sunday 25th October 2020 at 4:15 pm
Good thinking from our M.P.
Please include Alderley Edge.
Here's hoping that Cheshire East get off their backsides to say 'Yes' and quickly!

Hi Andy,
most of us don't have a £100,000 car; but if you have a spare one, I'd be happy to receive it as a Chrissy Pressy!
Pete Taylor
Monday 26th October 2020 at 6:55 pm
Two hours free parking was proposed by the Independent Councillors on Wilmslow Town Council way back in September. Every single Conservative Councillor voted against, so no free parking.
Strangely, they are now all in favour.
Duncan Herald
Tuesday 27th October 2020 at 2:13 pm
Hi Pete,
by in Sept. do you mean the month just ended or a year ago?
Whichever but I'll assume you mean a year ago. ;it it It was a different world back then. Nonetheless I've always supported the aim of additional parking e.g. in the Neighbourhood Plan and way back I worked hard to try to arrange more parking in the village mainly by having cars on London Rd. park nose in rather than parallel parking. I couldn't get it done alas; a disapointment for me and the other Tory supporters of the concept.

Are you being a tad one-sided by only attaching blame to the Tory party? I believe we have a Cheshire East Council where there is a majority of Labour/Indepentents (plus Lib.Dems). So there has been quite a long period of time for them to vote in any free parking measure they wished? Perhaps you might advance a theory as to why 'they' haven't got a current free parking situation?

Be safe.
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 27th October 2020 at 4:30 pm
Duncan, why would I be talking about last year? Why would I be talking about Cheshire East? This is a Wilmslow Town Council matter.

On the Wilmslow site I read this from an Independent WTC Councillor in response to this same article:

"On 15th September, I wrote to all the Wilmslow Town Councillors with 12 ideas to help the regeneration of our town centre. This included the idea of free parking from 12noon to 2pm to help encourage more lunchtime trade into the town.
However, the Conservative councillors ALL voted against even discussing them. As they run Wilmslow Town Council (WTC), their votes carried the day and the free parking idea along will all the others were completely dismissed."