After an incredibly tough year for business in York, the city’s Conservative Group is urging people to shop in the city’s businesses in the run up to Christmas and after the festive period urging a practical incentive. The proposed change would mean anyone parking in the city after 3pm would park for free (or only pay for the time upto 3 if they park before then). This would see a great chance for people to pop into town shopping around the school run, pick up some sale bargains or go for a coffee or a meal. Businesses urgently need this extra custom, especially as the pandemic has made it so much easier for people to shop online.
The motion is being put to City of York Council’s Full Council on 17th December.
Cllr Martin Rowley, who is proposing the motion, said:
This motion is an excellent practical way that the council can give much needed support to shops, cafes and restaurants in the new year. These businesses have been ready to serve us throughout the year but through no fault of their own have seen significant drops in revenue. I hope that residents will support their local shops ahead of Christmas, however it is after Christmas when money is tight that we think Council should provide a boost for York residents to spend in town and they should be encouraged to support our excellent city and economy.
We believe the supposed cost will be modest but will in many cases not be a cost as it will be filling up spaces on which there was otherwise no revenue. We do know though that there has been no issue for the Lib Dems finding funds for any of their wasteful projects, wars on the motorist, higher allowances for their councillors or the outrageous pay-off to the former Chief Executive, so it would be outrageous if they won’t support helping residents. We do though believe the scheme will be cost neutral as more customers will help drive businesses and without that we risk further business failures and losses like lower business rates.
Now that we have come out of the second national lockdown and in recognition of a continuing significant improvement in Covid case numbers, Council believes this is the time to take all practical steps to support residents and city businesses in recovering our local economy and helping to protect jobs.
As part of this recovery, Council calls for a ‘Free after three’ car parking scheme. After a hopefully strong run up to Christmas Council is mindful that January sees a lull but businesses cannot afford this after the last nine months. The scheme would enable free car parking at any City of York
Council car park after 3pm each day, seven days a week in January and February 2021.
The scheme would be likely to see a fall in overall parking revenue receipts but this will actually be modest against falls suffered in lockdowns already this year. However it is not a zero sum game as the drop in revenue we now proactively enable will help save jobs, businesses and receipts like business rates. Helping subsidise this scheme through contingency and reserves is therefore a true case of spending now to avert a worse financial loss in the future.
Council delegate implementation of the proposal to the COO, in consultation with the Leader.