05:15PM, Wednesday 10 November 2021
A discount parking scheme for residents in council-owned car parks is being proposed by an opposition councillor to support shops in the borough.
Councillor Lynne Jones (Old Windsor Residents Association, Old Windsor) wants the council to offer residents one-hour free parking in all of its car parks as part of the 2022/23 budget.
The leader of the local independents said discussions with council officers had revealed this could reduce the local authority’s annual parking revenue by £400,000 but she believed this was a fair trade off.
Cllr Jones said: “Our shops need our help more than ever after COVID-19 so whatever we do we should be encouraging people that are here day in day out to be visiting our shops because if they don’t they’ll go elsewhere or shop online.”
The discount parking scheme would see residents entitled to free parking for the first hour with charges kicking in after 60 minutes.
The Old Windsor councillor’s alternative proposal is for one-hour free parking to be offered to residents at selected car parks across the borough, at an estimated cost of £150,000.
People living in the borough could redeem their free parking by registering their address on a phone or app-based system, Cllr Jones added.
“Whatever we do will reduce our revenue,” she said.
“But there’s £10million worth of revenue which comes in from our car parks and I think this is a good trade off to support our shops.”
The Royal Borough announced last week it is offering free parking in all council-owned car parks in Maidenhead every Saturday from November 27 to December 25.
Free Christmas parking will be on offer in Windsor from 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from December 2 to December 23.
Cllr Jones questioned why Windsor residents were not being offered the same deals as their counterparts in Maidenhead.
“If they can do it for Maidenhead, why can’t they do it for Windsor? It does seem there’s one rule for one town and one for another.
“I’m sure the Windsor shops would feel supported if at least there was daytime free parking.”
Councillor David Cannon, cabinet member for parking, said: “The Christmas parking offer includes the targeted free evening parking in Windsor and Eton on Tuesdays and Thursdays during December, in order to support a critical mass of shoppers on those late-night shopping evenings held on those days.
"For Maidenhead, parking is already free on Sundays year-round so adding free Saturdays is a practical option to offer free parking for the whole weekend for that festive period."
A statement from the Royal Borough said the council is exploring the introduction of a new residents’ parking scheme and a report is expected to be presented to cabinet in due course.
A number of schools across in Maidenhead and the surrounding areas have been named as top performers in Parent Power, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2022.