Free 'Stop And Shop' Parking Coming To Chiswick

A trial of thirty-minute free parking scheme agreed for two streets

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Hounslow Council's 'Stop and Shop' scheme is to be introduced on a trial basis to two streets in Chiswick, Turnham Green Terrace and the Devonshire Road parade of shops.

The moves follows a long running campaign to help local traders and residents by MP Mary Macleod, councillor John Todd, and the Chiswick High Road Action Group.

Local businesses have been calling for the scheme for some time. Mike Moran of Top Hat cleaners in Devonshire Road said the independent traders in Chiswick were "very happy " at the news. Mary Macleod said that she was very pleased that the Council had "listened to the concerns of local people."

With just a month until Small Business Saturday, (Dec 7th) Mary added that she hoped that the Council would act quickly to implement the scheme by then.

Parking charges in those two streets in Chiswick come into operation from 7 am until 7pm which local traders claim have badly affected their businesses.

The decision to introduce Stop and Shop was taken at the cabinet meeting earlier this week when it was decided in the final minutes of the meeting to allow a thirty-minute 'free' parking period in Pay and Display areas across the borough.

Chiswick already has one 'Stop and Shop' on-street scheme in operation in Grove Park but this is the first extension of the scheme to streets closer to the High Road.

'Stop And Shop' has already been trialled a number of locations including Brentford and Hounslow centre. The decision to include Chiswick has been a "surprise" according to one campaigner.

Mike Moran said ;"From a trader's point of view we really need this facility in the areas where the independent shops are. If the Council want vibrant High Roads then they've got to support those of us doing the hard work and that's the local shops."

He thanked the local MP, councillors and CHRAG group for keeping up the campaign and added;

"We're pleased that Hounslow Council has finally listened to our requests and it will be good not just for businesses but for the whole community."

The trial 'Stop and Shop' scheme at other sites in the borough cost the Council £46,000 in lost revenue for the Council, according to the report presented to the cabinet meeting.

The report noted that an extension of 'Stop and Shop' to Chiswick could lead to "further significant impact on Council revenue" and recommended that it be introduced as a trial in a limited area, with the impact on income and benefits (or otherwise) to be monitored for a six month period after implementation.

"Elsewhere in the (Chiswick) town centre the nature of businesses is such that they would in the main attract visitors who are likely to stay for periods of longer than 30 minutes, such as restaurants, cafés, etc. The 30-minute free parking is not likely to be of any great benefit and is therefore not recommended for the wider Chiswick area at this stage," the report stated.

The Chiswick High Road Action Group is currently undertaking a widespread survey on parking in the local area. When completed it will be considered by the Chiswick Area Forum and the Council.

The council has agreed to consider the introduction of a blanket 30-minute free parking facility of a Smart Card, similar to that used in Richmond and Hillingdon.

However it notes that this would have a significant capital cost as all parking meters would have to be retrofitted and a new payments scheme introduced. On the other hand it would allow the Council to incentivise low emission vehicles and develop a suite of discounts with local traders to promote local shopping. A Hounslow Card has been advocated by Mary Macleod for some time.

"The outcome of investigations into the option of a Smart Card will be included in the report on the impact of Stop and Shop in Devonshire Parade and Turnham Green Terrace," according to the council.

November 7, 2013