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Bedford Town Centre Boost as Another Parking Charge Freeze Announced and Free Parking Deals to Continue

October 30, 2019 4:00 PM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Henry Vann

Parking charges are set to be frozen once again for 2020, in a major boost for Bedford Town Centre.

At its meeting tonight (Wednesday), Mayor Dave Hodgson's Cabinet is also set to confirm the retention of the full array of free parking deals across Council car parks. This includes the flagship 2 free hours on Saturdays in Bedford town centre.

With recent figures confirming that UK high streets are in deep crisis, the Council's third successive annual parking charge freeze is a major boost for Bedford's retailers and shoppers.

Meanwhile, the retention of the wide range of free parking deals means will see businesses and visitors benefit from the availability of free parking options every day and night in Bedford town centre.

Commenting, Bedford Borough Council Executive Member for Town Centres Cllr Henry Vann said: "We are cutting the real cost of parking year in and year out for people using Bedford town centre for work, leisure, and shopping. We're supporting local shoppers and backing local businesses to keep bucking the trend in the face of the wider crisis for all town centres.'

"With another freeze and free parking options available every single day alongside numerous events, our fantastic independents, and new and exciting businesses opening there's every reason for people to visit and enjoy Bedford town centre."

With the big Christmas lights switch-on approaching on November 24th, the freeze is set to deliver a pre-Christmas boost for local traders and shoppers alike.

The repeated car park charge freezes and free parking offers introduced in recent years mark a stark contrast with the approach inherited from local Conservatives, who more than doubled car park charges in just six years before Mayor Dave Hodgson was elected.

The proposed parking charges are to be considered amongst the full list of Council Fees and Charges for 2020 at the Council Executive meeting on Wednesday 30th October. You can find the agenda here, with fees and charges at item 8.

The announcement of another parking charge freeze in support for Bedford town centre comes against a backdrop of an ongoing crisis for the UK's high streets. Recent analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and high street analysts the Local Data Company (LDC) has shown that around 16 stores closed every day in Britain in the first half of 2019, resulting in a net decline of 1,234 chain stores across the top 500 high streets.