Poll: Traders call for Free After Three parking in Felixstowe town centre

TRADERS fighting to keep their businesses afloat are today calling for more free parking – to bring life to the shopping area later in the day.

Hard-pressed shopkeepers are aiming to target school run mums and shiftworkers leaving off to try to entice them to visit the town centre after 3pm with a new campaign called Free After Three.

Talks are already underway with Suffolk Coastal about the possibility of scrapping the charges with some traders worried about how they will survive unless new ways are found to encourage people to shop at the resort.

A meeting has been held with cabinet members Geoff Holdcroft, member for leisure and economic development, and Andrew Nunn, member for the green environment to discuss the idea.

County councillor Nick Barber, vice chairman of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade, said: “The aim initially is to see if anything can be done.

“Traders wanted to come up with an idea they could put forward and which could then open a discussion. Free After Three is an idea which it is felt could really help the town centre.

“Traders have indicated that they would be prepared to accept an increase in short-stay parking prices to compensate for the free parking later in the day.”

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Town and district councillor Margaret Morris said: “Some businesses have noticed trade diminishes at the end of the afternoon. There are people who might be encouraged to use the town centre – such as mums picking up their children from school – if they didn’t have to incur parking charges.”

Deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal, Andy Smith: “Felixstowe is not alone in making similar requests to Suffolk Coastal so the town is moving in the right direction. Obviously the idea will have to be looked at carefully and we will wait and see the outcome.”

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