Council’s £250k free parking business boost

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Town hall chiefs want to introduce FREE parking in all council-run car parks in a huge boost for local retailers.

If approved by members of the ruling cabinet, the plan will come into effect in the town centre from Saturday.

And council bosses believe the plan will cost around £250,000 in lost revenue but believe it represents a sound investment in the town centre’s future.

The 12 month trial is proposed for all on-street and off-street parking.

Council leader Barrie Grunewald will take the proposal to Cabinet today.

He said: “I am committed to supporting the Retail Sector in St Helens and to help to bring more shoppers and visitors to the town centre.

“We need to do everything we can to help retailers combat the increased competition from internet shopping,” said Coun Grunewald.

“This council has invested in maintaining a quality town centre environment and we want people to shop and visit the town centre at all times, but in particular on Saturdays.”

However, the move has provoked a storm of debate among Reporter readers on our Facebook site.

Simon Foster wrote: “There’s only so many poundshops, pound bakery’s, charity shops and High Street canvesors you can put up with. There’s nothing worth visiting or shopping at! We are 10 years behind everywhere!”

“What shops would we have to go to? We need clothes shops, we need baby shops, we’re a town with no mother care, no pram shops,” wrote Kim Quantrill-Anders.

And Dan Anders wrote: “Why don’t we have a centre like Warrington or Widnes. So much potential to do something.”