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Shop owner urges council to give residents free parking at Christmas to boost trade

An independent trader from Windsor has urged the council to give shoppers free parking over the Christmas period in a bid to boost footfall.

Brian McCormak, who has owned Snappy Snaps in Peascod Street for 17 years launched the petition on Monday and said footfall in the town was like ‘tumbleweed’.

Although shops have been closed since the beginning of November due to the second lockdown, he said even before this the trade had not been great throughout the year.

He believes this is due to the number of empty shops in the town centre, business and rental rates and the removal of the Advantage Card parking discount back in April.

The petition states: “The removal of the Advantage Card residents discount has angered residents who are now going to towns like Bracknell, as despite the journey, it’s cheaper to park. To encourage residents to return and shop in their local town centre, free parking over the important Christmas period should encourage locals to return in greater numbers.”

The petition now has more than 650 signatures.

He told the Express: “Footfall is a lot less, even after June [when shops were allowed to reopen] it was still very quiet outside.

“There is a huge amount of empty shops, it’s a combination of rents and rates and now COVID-19 has kicked in the last 11 months, that has certainly had an impact.

“If the decision is made to move into a tier system [after December 2] the council have to put something in place. It shouldn’t take me to tell the council to do something like this. The council need to look at some short-term initiatives to spur activity.”

He added that if the council agrees to give residents free parking in the town centres it should be heavily publicised and suggested the Town Crier should ‘scream it from the rooftops’.

Cllr David Cannon (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) lead member for public protection and parking told the Express he would be responding to the petition after it closes.

The petition can be viewed at petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/XmasParking/. It closes on November 30.

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