– ‘Do nothing’ Camden Council still has no plans to help shops and shoppers –
Embattled local high streets shops should benefit from free parking days, a Camden Labour councillor proposed today.
Following a recession-busting idea mooted in another London borough to encourage more shopping in neighbourhood stores, Camden Council should identify the high streets most likely to benefit from a relaxation of parking restrictions and institute free parking days, or even suspend parking altogether.
Neighbourhoods the council could look at include Hampstead High Street, Kentish Town Road, Kilburn High Road and South End Green.
Elsewhere in London The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea propose to introduce free parking on Saturdays from April for Notting Hill, Kensington High Street and King’s Road, which have been hit by the economic downturn.
Opposition Labour spokesperson Theo Blackwell said:
“Camden Council should immediately investigate where the lifting of parking restriction would work best for local shops. It’s obvious Camden businesses are feeling the pinch, so the council should take immediate action. Free parking is a good start.”
Commenting on the continued absence of an economic plan to help businesses and residents through the recession, Cllr. Blackwell added:
“Camden lags far behind other authorities in having a plan to help local businesses. We are in January and the council has already made its spending plans clear, with no reference to support for local businesses or residents. The Council was even slow to pass on the £2.5 VAT cut for its own services like leisure and car parking and is keeping its unfair 267% hike in parking permits for traders. Labour has called for a council tax rebate for local residents, funded from the London-topping £80 million reserves the council has hoarded away.”
Councils are able to take radical steps to help the local economy via Section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000, which empowers local authorities to “do anything which they consider is likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of the economic well-being of their area.”