Beeston business owners 'determined' in fight against free parking change

Philippa Dytham-Double, owner of Double Image Photography pictured outside her studio in Chilwell Road with her hands in her pockets wearing a light brown jumper
Philippa Dytham-Double, owner of Double Image Photography pictured outside her studio in Chilwell Road -Credit:Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post

A group of Beeston business owners are determined not to give up their fight against changes to free parking in the town, which they say is hurting trade. More than 1,000 people have now signed a petition, endorsed by Broxtowe's MP, calling for Labour-led Broxtowe Borough Council to rethink its cancelling of free one-hour parking at its facilities.

The change came into force at the start of the year and businesses on Chilwell Road in particular are said to be in "uproar." Their anger is heightened by the fact that when they faced significant disruption during the extension of the tram to Chilwell in 2015, they were promised an hour of free parking at council car parks to compensate for the loss of on-street parking.

Philippa Dytham-Double, the owner of Double Image Photography on Chilwell Road and the organiser of the petition, said: "People are really angry about this and have been showing their support for the traders, especially all the small independents that we have on Chilwell Road. It's a difficult time anyway with the cost of living crisis and inflation.

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"The free parking is really important for Chilwell Road, we have a lot of beauty businesses and an hour might be all their clients need for their appointments. People who need to stay longer don't mind paying, but we also have businesses like a dog groomers and a florist where people just need to pop in."

The petition has now been endorsed by Darren Henry, the Conservative MP for Broxtowe, who raised the issue in Parliament on Friday (April 26) by saying: "I believe a large contributing factor to the amount of footfall on high streets is car parking. People can be hugely put off from visiting towns where they cannot park or where parking costs are extortionate.

"In Broxtowe we have had huge issues with parking. I implore our local council to do more to tackle this problem, as it has a huge impact on shops, business owners and local residents.

A parking sign outside Double Image Photography in Chilwell Road, Beeston, which reads 'Chilwell Road Pay and Display'

"It is essential that we have a car parking strategy in our town centres and ensure that throughout busy times of the day we have available and affordable parking for all." The petition will now be presented at a special Broxtowe Borough Council meeting on May 23, where Ms Dytham-Double will argue that the Chilwell Road businesses have a "unique case" for the return of free one-hour parking and evening parking given their history with the tram extension.

The photography business owner added: "They did this without telling us and I found out by chance that it was happening. They should have been in consultation with us but they weren't and I think that's why there has been so much uproar. We're determined as a group of businesses not to let this one disappear, so we're all singing from the same hymn sheet."

Broxtowe Borough Council were approached for further comment, but a spokesperson for the authority previously said: "The new car parking charges are the first change since 2010. The previous charges no longer covered the cost of providing and maintaining the council's car parks.

"The new charges will help to address the deficit and allow the council to invest the money to ensure that the facilities provided remain fit for purpose. Parking is available for £1 for two hours and there is free all-day parking on Saturday and Sunday at Devonshire Avenue, Beeston."

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