09:07AM, Thursday 31 January 2019
An extra hour of free parking for Advantage Card holders will ‘enhance the vibrancy’ of the Royal Borough, the council leader has said.
As part of the council’s 2019/20 budget proposals, the charging structure for car parks has been altered, meaning drivers with a yellow residents’ advantage card will be able to park their vehicle free from 6pm rather than 7pm in all council-owned car parks.
Council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) says the aim of the change is to encourage shops to stay open and entice shoppers onto the high street.
The alterations will come into force at the beginning of April, after the implementation of new signage.
He said: “If you have got a [yellow] Advantage Card, it is free parking from 7pm across [Royal Borough] car parks. We are bringing that back to 6pm – so an extra hour of free parking.
“It will be good for retailers and encourage them to be open, and get families out, going to restaurants and the like, to enhance the vibrancy across the Royal Borough.”
The news has been met with positivity by Maidenhead town manager Steph James, who said people ‘need to make the effort’ to support local businesses.
She said: “With the food and drink businesses, they have grown over the past couple of years. So from 6pm – it would be supporting them more than the retail sector. But any additional free parking for residents is a good thing.
“The restaurant quarter in the town is really growing, we have lots of new ones – Coppa Club, Funky Wood...
“It just means people aren’t rushing – you can have a nice meal, a glass of wine and relax about your parking.
“There is a lot of responsibility on the consumer to think about where they are shopping to support local businesses.
“People are changing their habits, but we have got lots of exciting things coming up in Maidenhead.
“There is not one quick fix [for retail], but what people do need to remember is local businesses do need support. You really need to make the effort.”
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