MP Jonathan Reynolds has welcomed a move by Tameside Council to offer limited free parking to shoppers in Stalybridge, while United Utilities undertake vital sewer works. As a result of the essential maintenance work part of Corporation Street, in Stalybridge, will be closed for a number of months.
There had been fears that the road closure combined with the council’s plans to implement new parking charges would deter shoppers from visiting the town centre. And some had suggested this could threaten the survival of some independent traders.
Last month Mr Reynolds asked the council to delay the full implementation of the new car parking charges until the sewer works were complete.
And now the council has announced that it will allow shoppers to park in the Castle Street Car Park in the town centre for up to two hours without charge.
Commenting on the decision, Mr Reynolds said: “I am delighted that the council has taken this step to support the traders in Stalybridge at this challenging time.
“This time of year can be particularly difficult for the high street – and traders in Stalybridge were particularly concerned that the impact of road closures combined with parking charges would deter shoppers from visiting the town centre.
"I believed the traders had legitimate concerns and I am delighted that the council has stepped in to take this action.
"Allowing shoppers to shop for a couple of hours without charge by using Castle Street Car Park could make a real difference.
“I believe our town centres should be at the heart of our communities and that in these difficult times we should do all that we can to support our high streets.
“I recognise the council has already taken steps to ease the situation by enabling traffic to access Armentieres Square – and now I hope they will feel able to make this further concession.”
Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Transport and Development Cllr Peter Robinson announced the offer after holding talks with Mr Reynolds.
He said: “We understand traders' concerns that a closed road may be inconvenient to business and we hope the offer of two hour's free parking in Castle Street Car Park will encourage shoppers and visitors to still come into the town during the period of works."
The work by United Utilities will see Corporation Street closed to traffic between Stamford Street and Cornmill Lane. Armentieres Square will be open to all vehicles and traffic will also be allowed to drive both ways on what is currently the one-way section of Corporation Street to help ease traffic flow during this period.