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Hike in car parking charges is hitting Halesowen retailers
1:00pm Saturday 7th September 2013 in News
A 25 per cent hike in car parking charges in Halesowen is hitting traders - with one shop suffering a 20 per cent drop in turnover.
Less4Ink boss Wayne Edwards is convinced business is down as a result of the price increase imposed by Dudley Council earlier this summer.
The town’s chamber of trade is urging council chiefs to help by agreeing to a regular period of free parking to attract shoppers to the town.
Chamber chairman Steve Fitzpatrick said it was time Dudley followed the lead set by other towns who had introduced successful free parking.
In Kidderminster, one large car park is free each Wednesday from 10am until 4pm, and similar arrangements have been introduced in Stourport and Bewdley.
Mr Edwards said: “Even a couple of hours would be a help. We need to find ways to increase footfall in the town.”
He and other members of the chamber of trade are also angry that the price increase is not being used to clean up Halesowen’s graffiti and litter-strewn car parks.
Cornbow Shopping Centre manager Eve O’Connor said one piece of graffiti in the Pool Road multi-storey stairwell had been there for at least 17 years.
Dudley’s chief executive John Polychrinakis and regeneration officer Phil Coyne were taken on an eye-opening tour of the town’s grot spots six weeks ago by chamber leaders and promised to look into ways of improving them.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “They were a little bit shocked at the state of the car parks.”
He said a follow-up call would be made at the end of the month to see what action the council was planning to take.
The police and chamber are also pressing for the top two floors of the Pool Road car park to be locked at night to stop the nuisance of yobs driving cars round it, leaving litter and urinating.
Mr Fitzpatrick is hopeful this will happen, once the council has sorted out a mechanism is stop the lifts going to the locked floors.
The council officers were also shown the rundown Hobb's Corner, the unmaintained Husky Dog island and the dangerous and cordoned off steps outside the swimming baths among the grot spots.
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