From Jason Elliott
I was chatting to Kate Topping of Colour Yorkshire the other day while taking her pic for my 500 faces project when she mentioned her idea about making a Hebden Bridge effectively a free parking zone for shoppers.
In brief, what she proposes is that when people come to the town to shop, the shops should offer those people 40p (taken from a handy counter-top jar in her case) to pay for an hour of their parking charge.
Obviously, there are certain scenarios that wouldn't fit in this plan. Shops that sell relatively low cost items like newspapers, milk, bits of ribbon etc would be unlikely to see any benefit and would be understandably not want to participate. However, considering the number of "Great Little Independent Shops" that sell gifts, kitchen gear, jewellery, computers, musical instruments, wine etc that, compared to clone-high-street retail outlets, make quite reasonable sales, I'm sure there are enough places to create a network of participating shops.
Maybe a caveat like offering parking refunds when the total purchase is over £10 could be added?
In these days of stiff competition from retail parks and mega-corporations, the little details are what make all the difference and keep people coming here from out of town.
From Anne H
In principle it's a great idea (though what's to stop people shopping in half a dozen shops and getting 40p for the parking from each shop?).
It's similar to what I've seen in the past in some other local authorities. There, the parking display tickets had a little strip that contains a 'voucher' to be exchanged at any one of a number of local shops - equal to the price of parking for an hour. Not every shop participated but those selling higher value items always did.
From Emma Crute
Its a good idea but would it make a difference? I for one, who is used to shopping in Leeds / Bradford dont really mind paying for parking in Hebden. Its very cheap compared to other places. I pay on average about 30p per hour to park near the hole in t'wall which is really near all the shops. I believe even the `proper` car parks are only about 50p ph.
From Andy M
Just to add to Emmas' comment; parking in this town is very cheap already and probably acts as an attractor rather than putting people off. I'm not sure pople make the choice between Hebden and a retail park based on car-parking charges. Several times I've heard people comment 'It's only 20/30 etc p for an hour!'