FURIOUS business owners say new parking charges in Northallerton are killing the town centre – with some reporting losses of up to 40 per cent in revenue since their introduction.
Retailers and other businesses on the High Street say the new parking regime - in which motorists must get a free 30 minute ticket or pay 80p an hour - has had a profound impact on trade since it was introduced just over a month ago.
North Yorkshire County Council, which introduced the charges, says a review of the system will be carried out after six months.
But many traders say that will be too late, with many businesses already hit by a significant loss of trade.
One trader, Caz Pring, owner of craft and wool shop Paperlane, on Friarage Street, said her takings are down more than 40 per cent in the month since the introduction.
“In six months time, if things continue the way it’s going, I’ll be gone; I’ll be out of business,” she said.
The majority of traders on the High Street report shoppers dashing to complete their shop within the 30 free minutes.
Anthony Kitson, owner of Kitsons Butchers Shop, said: “Obviously the idea is to have people come in, do a quick shop, then go. But in reality, in the shoppers’ psyche, they think they have half an hour to shop in the town and then go. As a trader I’m feeling the effect of it.”
Claire Whitehead, assistant manager of Steamer Trading, said the cooking and bakery store had also noticed an impact.
“We have a big store here, with a large range of products. People are saying to us 'we wish we had more time to look around', but they’re dashing back to their cars instead.”
Other retailers in the town have reported trade down between six and 20 per cent since the introduction of the charges.
Mark Willoughby, from Mitchells newsagents said their trade was also down six per cent.
He added: “People aren’t stopping long enough to ponder over a purchase.”
Takings are also down in Hambleton District Council’s car parks in the town. In the six weeks since the introduction of pay and display parking, usage is down just under three per cent compared to last year.
Hambleton District Council has put part of this decrease down to the closure of the prison and the Rural Payments Agency.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said a review of the system would be carried out after its six month trial, adding: “At that time, we will examine how the system is working and consider whether any refinements or amendments are necessary.”