MP's petition for free parking in Worksop and Retford presented to Bassetlaw District Council after garnering 2,500 signatures

A petition for free parking in Worksop and Retford has been presented to Bassetlaw District Council by the district’s MP after receiving backing from residents and businesses in the form of 2,500 signatures.

By Sophie Wills
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 4:05 pm

The petition was created a year ago by Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith who argues that in light of the pandemic and changing shopping habits, action must be taken to protect town centre shops.

It has received backing from business owners in Worksop and Retford who are hopeful that free parking will increase footfall in both towns, allowing struggling businesses to recover.

But some have questioned if the Government will make up the shortfall in income the Council receive should parking charges are removed.

Brendan Clarke-Smith MP created the petition a year ago and it has since amassed 2,500 signatures.

Mr Clarke-Smith said the response to the petition had been ‘unprecedented’.

He added: “2,500 signatures is a particularly high number to find in order to be able to force the local council to debate such important issues and I believe the number we obtained illustrates the strength of feeling locally.

“I think everybody appreciates the need for sustainable public finances and there is always a tough balancing act for local authorities.

"However, we should not be using parking charges as a cash cow at the expense of our town centres and now, more than ever, we need to be supporting our local businesses.

“With the increase in online shopping seen during the pandemic and the long term issues with people using out-of-town shopping at places such as Meadowhall, we need to do everything we can to remove barriers that prevent many from using our local shops – parking being one of many.

"I hope Bassetlaw District Council will use this petition as an opportunity to review how parking arrangements can best serve our local communities and support our efforts to build back better.”

A spokesperson for Bassetlaw District Council said: “Bassetlaw District Council can confirm that the petition has been received and that response will be provided directly to the MP in due course.”

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