More free parking spaces are needed in the centre of Lynn and drivers should be able to use them for longer, a town businessman has claimed.
Ivan Wolfe, who runs Wolfy’s Photo in Norfolk Street, has welcomed the introduction of the bays in Austin Street and Baker Lane which allow motorists to park free for up to 20 minutes.
West Norfolk Council leaders say they are happy the spaces are being used and, alongside two other town sites, provide a consistent service to the public.
But Mr Wolfe has urged the authority to go further and introduce more free provision to support town centre traders, who he fears could be forced out of business if more action is not taken.
He said: “We are facing competition from out-of-town sites where parking is free.
“We need to make it a more level playing field than what it is at the moment.”
He said he had raised concerns about the impact of on-street parking regulations in the area around his shop two years ago.
And, asked if he thought traders would be forced to shut without a relaxation of parking rules, he said: “I’m certain of it.”
Free spaces were introduced to the Austin Street and Baker Lane car parks last month, joining the Tuesday and Saturday Market Places in offering the provision.
Figures presented to the last borough council meeting, in late July, said a total of 392 drivers had used the six free spaces available across the two sites, three at each, during their first two weeks in operation.
Over the same period, 272 motorists used the three free spaces in the Saturday Market Place, while 5,476 used the 21 free spaces available in the Tuesday Market Place.
Mr Wolfe said: “It’s a step in the right direction, but we need more and I feel 20 minutes is just a little bit short.”
Yesterday, David Pope, the borough council’s cabinet member for ICT, leisure and public space, said: “We’re happy that the spaces are being used to the benefit of local businesses.
“Twenty minutes is consistent with the Tuesday Market Place, where we have approximately 120,000 annual users for whom 20 minutes is sufficient. We will, as always, continue to monitor usage.”
But Mr Wolfe believes the council should be doing more to promote the additional provision and would like to see up to one hour’s free parking offered.
He said: “We run a shop in Greevegate, Hunstanton, and the restriction there is 45 minutes and it works. You’ve got a good chance of getting your jobs done in 45 minutes and it keeps the traffic flowing.”