Scrapping parking charges would help revive Hucknall

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I AM not alone as a long-standing resident of Hucknall in feeling that Ashfield District Council (ADC) has let the town down over recent years.

Our High Street is rapidly turning into a joke, with businesses literally shutting up shop with, it appears, increasing frequency. Even charity shops are not immune any more.

There are many and complex reasons for the demise of our High Street, but it is not too late to save it.

It is surely in the interest and within the power of ADC to encourage small businesses on the High Street, which would restore Hucknall’s image as a prosperous and vibrant community.

The long-running, and still indeterminate saga of the part-pedestrianisation of the High Street is a white elephant, and may or may not be a long-term solution to the problem.

Tesco is here to stay, and for many, it provides an easy and convenient way to shop for the everyday necessities. Tesco does, however, have an extremely unfair advantage over all other traders in Hucknall, in that parking there is free.

Elsewhere in town, parking charges on sites operated by ADC have recently been doubled from 20p to 40p for the first hour. This can only deter local drivers further from shopping on the High Street.

I have recently approached ADC regarding the revenue and operating costs of the metered car parks in Hucknall under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI).

ADC failed to answer two of my four original questions, although it admitted it held the data. The information ADC did disclose under the FOI is apparently restricted by copyright law, and therefore I am unable to divulge the facts and figures submitted. I have, of course, kept these records on file.

It is clear, however, that the metered car parks have been operated at a significant loss, which the increasing of charges will not turn into a surplus.

Surely it is now time for the residents of Hucknall to speak up. Abolishing car park charges will not solve the problems of the High Street overnight, but it would be a step in the right direction.

CHRIS THORNE,

Hucknall,

(Address supplied).