Christmas car parking offer will not boost trade says Dunmow Town Team

Alex Armstrong

Alex Armstrong - Credit: Archant

Dunmow Town Team has described Christmas car parking arrangments from the district council as an “anti-gesture”.

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) will introduce a free after 2pm initiative for all of the car parks it manages – except the Fairycroft/Waitrose car park in Saffron Walden – from December 1 up to Christmas eve.

UDC will also make all parking free at its car parks in Dunmow, Stansted and Saffron Walden from Christmas Day to Monday, January 2, also with the exception of Fairycroft.

The council says the estimated loss of revenue from the free after 2pm initiative in Dunmow would be in the region of £4,350, based on last year’s ticket sales.

For the whole of Uttlesford, UDC says the estimated loss from the free parking offered would be in the region of £10,000.

Alex Armstrong, Dunmow town councillor and town team member, said he feels the proposals do not benefit businesses in the town.

He said: “We do not think it is beneficial at all. Free after 2pm is just the period where the least money will be lost. Parents have to do the school run at 3pm, so it doesn’t give them much time to do anything in town.”

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The Dunmow Town Team, along with the town council, proposed that parking be free from 10am to 1pm in all four of the town’s car parks – Angel Lane, Chequers Lane, New Street, and White Street – from October 1 until December 31.

They also wanted parking to be free in all four car parks on Saturday, December 3 – the date of the town’s Christmas lights switch-on event.

Cllr Armstrong added: “Last year they gave us a free after 3pm offer, which wasn’t a great success and there is no evidence to suggest it made any difference at all.

“We put forward a number of different proposals that could be promoted with discount days and special offers.

“The free after 2pm is a gesture, but it’s more of an anti-gesture because it does not benefit businesses in Dunmow. The plans are against the spirit of the town team.”

Councillor Susan Barker, UDC cabinet member for environmental services, said: “The proposals put forward by the Dunmow Town Team were extremely costly and there were some complicated changes involved with the ticket machines, which are not as young and robust as they should be.

“There were concerns that making the programming changes they wanted might lead to break downs with the machines.

“We hope to meet again in the new year to discuss how best to support businesses in the town through parking offers.”