A Banbury business owner has taken matters into his own hands and is offering money off for people who pay to park in town, in an attempt to tempt customers away from retail parks.
Mark Sharman, owner of Banbury Shoe Repair and Key cutting Centre on Banbury High Street, is offering customers £1 off a £10 bill or £2 off a bill of £15 or more in order to pay for the customer’s parking within town.
The scheme comes as Cherwell District Council’s ‘free after three’ parking initiative finished at the end of January.
Mr Sharman’s business is the last independent shoe repair shop in town and he hopes the scheme will raise the profile of Banbury’s independents and the pressures they are under from retail parks and franchised competition.
Mr Sharman said: “ With the retail parks opening up, I’m surrounded by Timpson’s, who have just opened up another one - it’s a bit like Custer’s last stand. So I thought if people are going to come into town and pay £1 for parking I will pay for it if you use my services. That’s the gist of it.”
Mr Sharman has launched the scheme without talking to any of the other independent business owners within the town but hopes some will follow his lead.
Mr Sharman said: “If other independents up and down the High Street wanted to offer it, it might help.”
A similar scheme was launched in Rugby where Mr Sharman has another shop and it was well received. The free after three scheme ran in the CDC-0wned car parks also helped increase footfall into the town centre.
Mr Sharman said: “If they’re going to come into town and get their parking paid then they might just do it and support the independents.”