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Gravesham parking petition handed to council

Urban Gravesham and local traders handed in a petition
Urban Gravesham and local traders handed in a petition


A 3,000-strong petition calling for free parking to be reintroduced in the town has been submitted to the council.

Members of civic society Urban Gravesham and local traders handed in the petition, although they plan to keep collecting signatures.

Gravesham council had rolled out Saturday parking charges across its car parks in January this year.

Martin McKay, of Urban Gravesham, said: "While we sympathise with the council's financial position, we think it's time to reconsider on car parking charges.

"Gravesend town centre businesses need all the support they can get in these difficult economic times and free Saturday parking would undoubtably give a boost to local shops.

"People in Gravesham have made it very clear that they feel strongly about this and we hope that the council will show they are willing to listen to the community over this important issue."

Council leader John Burden said: "The issues remain the same. The council needed to find money to make up the shortfall left in the budget from the previous administration.

"We are providing opportunities in the town market, opportunities for the town such as the motor fest at the weekend.

"The biggest effect on town traders is the business rates, insurance costs, and landlord costs, and the forthcoming changes in government funding to benefits and council tax."

He said that this year the council had made savings of £1.2 million.

He added: "The real situation is that the St George's Shopping Centre and Thamesgate are both privately owned and were charging [for parking] even when there was free parking [on Saturdays]."

A spokesman for the owners of the St George's Centre rejected his point saying there were no charges when the council operated its free weekend parking scheme.

Urban Gravesham have collected signatures for their parking petition outside Gravesend's library in Windmill Street each Saturday morning for the last few weeks and plan to continue doing so.

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