Car park fees to be scrapped

Proposals would give local shops a ‘level playing field’ say council leaders

CHARGES look set to be scrapped at two Barnstaple car parks in a bid to encourage shoppers to “rediscover” local shops.

The North Devon Council owned car parks in Newport and Pilton will be free to park in for up to one hour should proposals to drop fees be approved for a one-year trial period this autumn.

The initiative at Congrams Close and Pilton Street follows the loss of Post Offices in both areas and the subsequent decline of trade, particularly in Newport where several businesses have closed in recent years.

It has also been made in response to the opening of Barnstaple’s second Tesco supermarket earlier this year.

Leader of North Devon Council, Cllr Brian Greenslade, said: “Both areas lost their Post Offices at the same time a few years back and that has meant a loss of trade for local shops.

“And with the opening of a second Tesco in the town, we want to give smaller shops a lifeline. You can go to the supermarket and park for a couple of hours for free – we want to give local businesses a level playing field.”

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Deputy leader Cllr Rodney Cann said he was concerned about the number of empty shops in Newport Road.

“It’s becoming a little like a ghost town,” he said.

“We will be taking the issue to the Executive as a matter of urgency and we hope to have it rubber stamped at September’s executive meeting.”

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