CHRISTMAS shoppers in South Bucks are being given a reprieve after the council announced two free festive parking days – but traders are calling the move “short-sighted”.
South Bucks District Council has confirmed it will suspend charges at all council-run car parks on two Saturdays in December.
But the head of a traders’ association claims it is too little too late and that it must work harder to support businesses.
The scheme was given the green light at this week's Cabinet meeting and is part of a council campaign to boost festive trade for businesses across the district.
All ten car parks in Beaconsfield, Burnham, Gerrards Cross and Farnham Common will be free of charge on December 7 and December 14.
Nick Naylor, SBDC portfolio holder for environment said: "We recognise that Christmas is one of the busiest and most important times of the year for local traders.
“By offering this free Saturday parking we hope it provides another incentive for shoppers to visit their village and town centres and shop local this Christmas supporting our local businesses.”
But Paul Fisher, chairman of Gerrards Cross Traders Association, has dismissed councillors’ efforts as doing little to help boost trade in town centres.
Mr Fisher, of Fisher’s Butchers on Packhorse Road, said the offer highlights the lack of council support year-round and needs to go further.
And the former parish councillor called for a one-hour free parking scheme at all times to encourage people back to the high street.
He said: “This just proves they know that free parking will improve things so why are they not giving us more all year round to improve it further?
“By offering free parking and trying to help us on two days a year they are shining a light on the fact that the rest of the year they are not doing enough.
“Of course it definitely welcome, but more needs to be done. If more people park, we will have a busier villager, more shoppers and it will benefit the economy of the local area. The council are being too short-sighted on this.”
The council’s offer does not include privately run car parks, and disabled bays will remain strictly for the use of blue badge holders only.
Free Parking will be available in the following car parks:
- Warwick Road Car Park
- Altons Car Park Burkes Road
- Penncroft Car Park, Burkes Road
- Bulstrode Way Car Park
- Packhorse Road Car Park
- Station Road Car Park
- Jennery Lane Car Park
- Summers Road Car Park
- Neville Court Car Park