CHRISTCHURCH traders have asked the council to help them boost trade in the town by reducing car parking charges.
The Chamber of Trade and Commerce has launched a campaign for charges of £1 for two hours to apply in town centre car parks and is encouraging shoppers to sign a petition in support of the idea.
This would bring the borough in line with Wimborne and Ferndown, where charges in short stay car parks are £1 for two hours.
At present charges in Christchurch car parks range from £1.60 to £1.90 for two hours.
Peter Watson-Lee, president of the Chamber, is asking everyone with an interest in keeping the town alive to back the campaign. "Car parking charges are a recognised deterrent to people visiting town centres. Add to this, supermarkets and Castlepoint offering free parking and towns surrounding Christchurch with cheaper parking, it's an obvious course of action to reduce the charge. We are aware of the council's financial situation however we feel that our proposal for a £1 for 2 hours charge is reasonable and attainable."
Posters have been distributed and many of those displaying it also have the petition for people to sign. These include High Street Post Office, Olde Eight Bells, Coast Coffee, Heartizans, Mathews Shoes, The Bay Tree, Scissors in Saxon Square, Waitrose, the Coffee Pot and Castles on Bargates along with Williams Thompson Solicitors and the Kings Arms on Castle Street. More are being added all the time.
"The council is currently reviewing parking and this is an ideal time for everyone to get behind the Chamber of Trade's campaign and sign the petition," added Mr Watson-Lee.
Poster and petitions are available from Nicky on 01202 484242 and email firstname.lastname@example.org
David McIntosh, chief executive of the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership, said: "We look forward to receiving the petition from the Chamber of Trade. It will be debated by the relevant committee in due course."