Town centre traders frustrated they won’t benefit from free Sunday parking

04/12/2023

North Bar car park

The incentive to increase footfall only applies to Castle Quay car parks and those charging electric vehicles

Yesterday was the first Sunday where free car parking was available at one council owned car park, but some town centre traders are unhappy that their businesses won’t benefit from the offer.

Cherwell District Council is offering parking free-of-charge at Castle Quay Shopping Centre every Sunday until February 1.   The offer does not include other town centre car parks, such as North and South Bar or Calthorpe Street, which are much closer to the traders in Banbury old town.

The only exception is for electric vehicle owners, where free Sunday parking is available in council car parks, although the vehicle must be plugged in and charging at one of the EV bays.

Barry Whitehouse runs the Artery Art Shop in Parson’s Street.   He finds the decision both frustrating and disappointing.  

Barry said: “It feels like [Cherwell District Council] are only focusing on their own investment and not the town as a whole.   We’ve already lost free parking on Small Business Saturday (first Saturday in December), and the Free From Three in January.

“It’s extremely frustrating to hear they are once again neglecting the old town area.

“I know most small businesses aren’t open usually on Sundays but many are in December and almost all will be on Christmas Eve which falls on Sunday.

“People won’t walk with bags of shopping from Castle Quay to the old town, especially if they are parked in Castle Quay.   It’s extremely disappointing that not only were the businesses not consulted, that they just focus on Castle Quay.”

A spokesperson for Cherwell District Council told Banbury FM: “The key goal of our winter car parking incentive is to encourage take-up of electric vehicles, with free parking on Sundays for drivers charging their cars in our council-owned car parks. This supports our commitment to cutting carbon emissions and improving air quality across the district.

“The free parking offer on Sundays at Castle Quay is an additional incentive to boost footfall to the town centre and help support the local economy.”


Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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