Downham Market trader calls for greater enforcement of car parks

Hollies Car Park at Downham Market GV's ANL-151028-195121009

Hollies Car Park at Downham Market GV's ANL-151028-195121009

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A trader is calling for a clamp down on motorists abusing the town’s car parks to safeguard Downham’s future.

Peter Martin says shops are considering leaving as the car parks are blocked all day by workers and commuters.

Downham Town Council has agreed to hold a public consultation on how to solve the problem. Consultants have recommended an additional 40 spaces along with some form of charging.

But Mr Martin, who owns Spoilt for Choice, is now calling on the council to temporarily employ a warden to police the car parks while it makes a decision.

Mr Martin, who does not feel charges is the way forward, said the town’s car parks were full on Wednesday but there was “not a soul in town”.

He said: “The car parks are full all day every day and it is killing the town.

“The Hollies car park states clearly that is a maximum three hour stay but it is always full. There is a black Audi parked in a disabled bay all day, every day.

“There are four independent traders who are ready to go. If people can’t get parked they will go somewhere else.

“The car parks are being abused by non-shoppers. If they could employ someone to walk around and free up the car parks.

“Downham has a diversity of independent traders but if they don’t do something soon it will change.”

Mayor John Fox says there is very little proof that the car parks are used by commuters but enforcement would cost thousands as a warden would need to be employed along with finding someone at the DVLA to check who the cars belong to.

He said: “I can’t seem to get the traders to accept that they pay their business rates but we as a town council do not see an ha’penny of that. We are not a bottomless pit and a large percentage of traders don’t even live in the town so they don’t pay into our precept. We can’t afford it.

“We are doing our best to move forward but we have got to get it right so it doesn’t impinge on the town.”

l What do you think? Have you experienced problems parking in Downham? If so, email victoria.fear@jpress.co.uk