Trowbridge shopping centre set to rub it in over free parking(November 12, 2010)
THE expected announcement of free parking for Christmas shoppers by the owners of a major shopping area in Trowbridge will further challenge county councillors in Warminster to protect the town's businesses.
"I believe that The Shires will introduce free parking at Trowbridge," says former councillor Paul Macdonald. "We have to fight back. Can they react quickly enough?
"The Shires are probably reacting to similar established moves by others in the 'travel to Christmas shop' catchment area."
Warminster is currently suffering the aftermath of the the scrapping of the district council which has handed over the public car parking to Wiltshire Council which took a decision to maximise it many-fold as a cash-cow.
The town council rebelled after pressure from shopkeepers, low-paid local workers and shoppers.
"The problem is, without denigrating the county town Trowbridge, is that Warminster is an ideal place for the ideal, unique and special Christmas present," claims Paul.
"We do have Argos through to the Woolworths replacement Alworths but what we also have is dozens of opportunities to get something with a difference from our independent retailers which Trowbridge does not have in such abundance."
Warminster has a higher than usual number of independent retailers along its main through road as well as its easily visited using thoroughfares from its car parks.
"I am not picking anyone out in particular so I would just mention that a visit to Warminster this Christmas for a proper shop with a difference can be very fruitful.
Paul prides himself on doing almost all his Christmas shopping each year in the town but admits that 'my wife enjoys with her mum the trip to a major city for the biggest stores'.
"They usually seem to come back disappointed," claims Paul. "I do not rub it in!"
"My tip is that I think anyone who knows about value for money is to park in the town central car park first and spend a hour free checking out places like Dents factory shop and the Cornmarket, and the Cornmarket.
"Then take short drive to Chinns Yard car park and check out Weymouth Street, Chinns Yard and the Market Place.
"Another short drive will find the one-hour free parking in the car park by the Assembly Hall to look around amazingly wide variety of shops that side of the main traffic lights in our town.
In the meantime Paul is challenging local councillors Davis, Humphries, Newbury and Ridout to save money by making all car parks in Warminster free.
"How much will they save running the payment machines and paying for the staff required to service them and issue tickets?"
*The town council currently are in conflict with the new Wiltshire Council about their contract. Ask your local councillor for their view.