‘Parking fees will kill us off,’ fear traders

Todmorden traders with a petition to keep Dale Street car park free.'From the left, Carole and Lauren Clifton from P&S Stationary, Roger Moorhouse from Midas Moon, Jill Kitching and Jo Newham from The Cotton Mill and Joanna Cooper from Laurels Cafe.

Todmorden traders with a petition to keep Dale Street car park free.'From the left, Carole and Lauren Clifton from P&S Stationary, Roger Moorhouse from Midas Moon, Jill Kitching and Jo Newham from The Cotton Mill and Joanna Cooper from Laurels Cafe.

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BUSINESSES are joining forces to protest against plans to introduce parking charges which they feel will seriously harm trade in Todmorden.

A petition against Calderdale Council’s proposals to start charging to park in three previously free car parks - Oxford Street, Dale Street and Dalton Street - has now gathered more than 200 names as opposition continues to build.

Traders feel that the combination of them having to pay for all-day parking while at work, plus the charges customers will face, will result in fewer shoppers coming into Todmorden.

Carole and Lauren Clifton, the mother and daughter team who run P and S Stationery, on Water Street, said it would create financial difficulties.

“It would cost the two of us over £2,000 a year just to park, plus business rates. That will finish us off,” Carole said.

Lauren said: “Customers don’t want to pay to park, so they are not going to come to Todmorden any more.”

She said most businesses in the town have signed the petition.

“I hope we can get Calderdale Council to have a change of heart,” she said.

Michael Uren, chairman of Todmorden Business Association, thinks trade will suffer drastically if parking charges are introduced.

“In this climate, it’s ridiculous,” he said.

“We need to encourage people to come to Todmorden, not discourage them.

“In the long term, we will see lots of businesses suffer.

“We can’t lose any more customers - they are vital. Independent traders rely on attracting customers to the town.

“We have already got empty shops in Todmorden. We don’t want any more.

“We have got the economic climate and we have had the flooding. You just can’t pile anything more onto businesses. It’s not fair.”

Mr Uren has proposed an alternative system where shoppers apply for a disc to display in their vehicles, allowing them a period of free parking.

“We know it works,” he said.

“There’s one in Rawtenstall that works extremely well.

“Even just an hour’s free parking would allow people to pop into the shops.”

Motorists will be able to formally comment on the details of the proposals when a series of traffic regulation orders are published over the next six months.