War of numbers between council and traders over impact of pay-for parking in Yarm (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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War of numbers between council and traders over impact of pay-for parking in Yarm
A ROW has broken out between a council and a town’s traders about the expected impact of the introduction of pay and display parking on trade.
Yarm traders’ organisation iTrade has claimed Stockton Borough Council’s own figures predict a 50 per cent decline in trade on Yarm High Street.
But Stockton Borough Council has strongly refuted those claims arguing iTrade has misinterpreted the figures and that in fact there is potential for trade to actually increase with a higher turnover of cars.
Yarm town councillor and member of iTrade, Chris Johnson, said that in a recent Appeals and Complaints committeee meeting the council cited figures showing there are 10,600 car visits a week between 9am and 5pm to Yarm.
According to those figures the authority could expect to raise £9,360. However the council is actually anticipating raising £4,700, a drop of slightly more than 50 per cent.
“Stockton Borough Council is openly forecasting the decimation of Yarm Town Centre. If this is not a planned outcome, the mistakes that have been made mean that Stockton Borough Council must put an immediate halt to their pay and display plans and start a full investigation as to how highly paid officers have allowed this to happen.”
However Stockton council said that in fact coun Johnson was making his calculations based on a figure of 12,000 visits a week which includes night time visits, when parking will be free. The figure also includes cars which are expected to park for free on other streets, Sainsbury’s and people who abandon their trip because there’s nowhere to park.
Coun Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “We are not forecasting a 50 per cent drop in trade in Yarm as a result of the new parking measures and any claim that we are is based on flawed calculations.
“The pay and display aspect is designed to increase the flow of traffic and the turnover of spaces available, providing greater opportunities for shoppers and visitors to park their vehicles.
“The system will give visitors the flexibility to complete quick errands whilst also enabling those that wish to stay for longer to do so.”
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