Drivers in and around Croydon are to get one hour free parking, instead of 30 minutes, in a bid to help small businesses and make it easier for motorists to shop locally.
The proposal was announced by Councillor Stuart King, cabinet member of transport and environment, in a council meeting on Monday, in response to public demand.
He said: “For the past eight months, we have gathered feedback from small business owners across the borough, and one thing they all mentioned to us is that longer parking periods can greatly contribute to their business.”
The new policy will replace the existing 30 minutes free parking in Croydon’s 9 district centres. Customers will have better access to visit their local shops without worrying about heavy parking bills.
Simon Turuga, owner of Pasimm Printers in Thornton Heath, welcomed the news. “I am not even sure if we have 30 minutes free parking here, “ he said. “People always complain to me about parking issues and I lose customers because of it.”
But some people were concerned about a possible increase in traffic.
Hannah Dein, at Thomas Cook Travel ,said: “The concept is nice, of course, but I’m not sure if it’s going to be very helpful. What might happen is that it will potentially cause more traffic here in Purley, which is already bad enough.”
Cllr King felt the benefits outweighed any disadvantages. He added: “I’m quite confident that this policy will boost small business within the borough. Also, it’s not just about business. Our residents can run their daily errands in a much more relaxed way than before.
“We are not adding more parking spaces just extending the length of parking. I don’t think there will be a huge problem.”
Croydon council’s traffic management advisory committee is set to verify the proposal on February 8. A public consultation will then be held.
According to Croydon council, the new time limits will come into effect in Spring/ Summer after final approval is given.
Thornton Heath, South Norwood, Addiscombe, Cherry Orchard Rd (East Croydon), South Croydon, Selsdon, New Addington, Purley and Coulsdon are the 9 district centres to benefit.
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