Trader: We pay while others ‘see the light’

Malcolm Douglas pictured on Banbury's High Street
Malcolm Douglas pictured on Banbury's High Street

Cherwell District Council should follow Northampton’s example by offering at least two-hours free parking to shoppers, a town trader has reiterated.

Malcolm Douglas, owner of Henry’s menswear in High Street, who has campaigned for free parking vociferously for many years and has recently launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign, gave his response to plans unveiled by Northampton Borough Council proposing two-hours free parking on weekdays in four multi-storey car parks in the town, and free parking all day on Saturdays.

Mr Douglas said: “What is it all about the fact that we have to pay for parking and soon nobody else will?

“Why is the council so intent on fleecing the people of Banbury when other councils are seeing the light?”

Mr Douglas believes if the council does not act, Banbury could lose some of its town centre stores, which would he says have a damaging effect on the social aspect of town shopping.

“Witney and Woodstock have free parking. It’s only Oxford where you still have to pay. Oxford has just gone up in price and the retailers there are screaming about it,” he said.

“I am not saying free parking all the time. A shopping trip takes about two hours.

“People like to go shopping and socialise at the same time.

“People like to get together and have a coffee. By not having free parking they are in danger of taking away this social side of shopping.”

He added: “The council has got it in mind that everybody is going to start buying online, and I have even heard one councillor say we should be shutting shops and building more flats in the town centre.”

Christine Smith, who owns Comic Connections on Parsons Street with her husband Glyn Smith, added: “People go to other towns such as Stratford or Milton Keynes – we’ve got to do something to pull people into Banbury.”