Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk, has stepped up his campaign for cheaper parking in the town centre by launching a town-wide petition to present to the local council. He wants Cheltenham Borough Council to fulfil its pledge to remove parking charges in town centre car parks after 6pm, as part of a more shopper-friendly approach to parking. In February 2016, the council – which currently charges drivers until 8pm - agreed to introduce free parking from 6pm, bringing Cheltenham into line with Tewkesbury and Gloucester. But despite making that promise, no changes have been made.
Now, with 18 months having passed, Mr Chalk is calling upon the council to honour their commitment. In the last financial year, the Borough Council raked in £3.8 million in parking charges. In addition, the Council themselves recently commissioned a report by consultants, Arup, into Cheltenham’s car parking arrangements. The report stated that ''if car parking charges are set too high, this is likely to impact on the number of visitors to the town and could be damaging to the local economy'', while also noting that evening parking charges in Cheltenham are higher than those in Bath, Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester.
Setting out his alternative vision to boost Cheltenham’s town centre, Mr Chalk said: ‘’Everything should be done to avoid clobbering shoppers with high parking costs. Abolishing charges post-6pm would make Cheltenham a more attractive place to visit. It would boost our nighttime economy and send a message that Cheltenham is open for business.’’
Mr Chalk has sent his petition, calling upon the Council to honour its commitment free parking commitment and adopt a more shopper friendly approach, to every household in Cheltenham and will be presenting the results to the Borough Council. You can support the campaign by emailing Alex on firstname.lastname@example.org.