Parking fees are testing traders
Traders in Market Harborough and Lutterworth could have lost up to £2 million in takings following an increase in parking charges, a councillor has warned.
Figures released by Harborough District Council show 102,360 fewer people paid to park in the towns since April last year, when the cheapest tariff was increased from 50p to 70p.
Liberal Democrat group leader Phil Knowles said it was likely each car represented an average possible spend of £10 to £20 to the area's economy.
"It means a loss to the traders of between £1 million and £2 million pounds in just a 10-month period," he said.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"The figures I obtained have revealed a shocking fall in vehicles using the car parks across the district, with more than 102,000 fewer tickets being purchased in little more than 10 months since the charges were increased.
"Lutterworth witnessed a reduced flow on to the car parks of more than 6,000 vehicles but it was in Market Harborough the reduction hit dramatic numbers.
"Between April and December 2011, some 845,440 tickets were sold, compared to only 749,169 for the comparable 10 months in 2012."
Market Harborough Independent Retailers Association spokesman Malcolm Lever-Jones said: "I think what councillor Knowles is saying is true. We predicted there would be a drop in footfall.
"Many of our members are finding it very difficult to carry on in what are very difficult times."
Lutterworth town centre businessman Stuart Hammond, who runs a travel company, said: "I am not surprised parking ticket sales have fallen. The Lutterworth Chamber of Trade opposed the increase and called for more free parking."
Harborough District Council leader Mike Rook defended the price increase.
He said: "Nationally, there has been a fall in car park usage due to the economic downturn and a rise in petrol costs.
"Despite this, business remains vibrant locally, shown by the small amount of vacant shops compared to other areas.
"Car parking charges in the Harborough district remain low compared to other areas."