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Calls for free parking to help regenerate town

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: July 16, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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TOWN leaders have accused senior councillors responsible for town centre regeneration and parking of "doing nothing to regenerate Cheadle town centre".

Cheadle Town Council is battling with Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to get more free parking in the town centre to help boost trade.

There have been numerous issues over parking in the town centre over the years, especially the allocation of free parking.

Most recently several members of the public were given parking fines after confusion arose over the free parking provision for the town's St George's Day events in April.

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Speaking during a recent meeting of the town council Cheadle town mayor councillor Ron Locker said: "It is getting to the situation where nothing is being done to regenerate Cheadle town centre; its heart is only just beating and needs help.

"We have two supermarkets with free parking and we have to get more footfall in the town to help kick-start it; a petrol station is required.

"There is no other town in the country that has two supermarkets but no petrol station.

"Having a petrol station would stop people going out of town, as they offer tokens to get reduced fuel bills; if people have to travel out of town to use them we have lost all that extra trade.

"We should ask councillor Edwin Wain to a meeting to discuss where we are going with parking, and the leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Sybil Ralphs in her role as head of regeneration."

Councillor Ian Whitehouse said the hours for free parking needed to be extended.

He added: "We want the full day as we already pay £750 a day to the district council for parking."

Councillor Gary Bentley echoed Mr Locker's point that "nothing is being done to regenerate the town centre."

He added: "We should write to those responsible to say we want more free parking as we do not get enough."

Councillor Ian Plant said that free parking was there to encourage shoppers into the town.

In a letter to Cheadle Town Council regarding free parking from councillor Edwin Wain, who is responsible for planning and car parks at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, he said: "There were five free parking days in Cheadle in 2013 in support of the new farmers market to assist in getting it established and vibrant.

"These were funded by Cheadle Town Council through its Mary Portas High Street Initiative Fund to cover the income that the district council would have accrued through its normal parking operation.

"As part of its strategic objectives in supporting the economies of its town and villages within the Moorlands, the district council offers up to five free parking days.

"While three of these day are normally held for the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas they can, upon request, be utilised to support local events throughout the year.

"However, while pay and display is suspended during these free parking days anyone parking on the district council's car park in Tape Street and Well Street has to abide by all parking regulations, such as parking within a bay and observing the maximum stay of three hours on Tape Street car park, which seems to be the main issue.

"This maximum stay is in place to provide the opportunity for more people to use parking availability."

The town council agreed to invite Ms Ralphs and Mr Wain to a meeting.

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