I Love Local Shops: 'Free parking can boost trade for Hinckley traders'
A councillor is calling for free parking and an award scheme for independent shops to promote trade in a town.
Labour councillor Matthew Lay launched the Heart of the Town Campaign to urge the Liberal Democrat-led Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council to help traders.
He wants the council to offer free parking on market days and to reopen Regent Street to traffic for the first time in over 10 years.
"We all want strong local businesses in the heart of our town, which is why we've launched this," he said.
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Coun Lay also called on the borough council to launch an arts, crafts and children's market.
"We are on the side of local businesses in these tough times and will be pushing this campaign until the council takes action," he said.
Independent shops in the town said they supported any campaign that would generate trade.
Gayner Johnson, owner of Johnson's Lingerie and Ladieswear, in Castle Street, said: "The free parking on a Tuesday does help a lot because it gets people in on a quieter day.
"Maybe they could introduce another free day but they would have to make sure it was used by shoppers, not people working.
"Free parking would mean people spend longer in town, stopping to shop more and for a coffee.
"I like the awards idea. We have had one once before with the chamber of trade and it does make you sit up and take notice."
Carole Parkes, owner of Razzmatazz, another clothing shop in Castle Street, said: "I think opening Regent Street to traffic would make a lot of difference.
"Anything to get more people going through, rather than round the town, would be good."
Borough council leader Stuart Bray said he was proud of the independent shops in the town.
He said: "We already offer free parking on some days.
"I wish we could do it every day, but if we were to scrap parking charges we would have to increase council tax by about 15 per cent."
Views on Coun Lay's campaign can be given by visiting the website:
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