On the website of the Haslemere and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce:
Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce has rejected a request to withdraw its ‘free parking’ poster in favour of one produced by Waverley Borough Council.
Both posters promote the free parking concession across borough car parks on Saturday 7 December – as a boost for local retailers on one of the key pre-Christmas shopping days. The day is also being marked nationwide as Small Business Saturday.
Chamber President John Orr says this week’s request smacks of petty bureaucrats trying to make up for lost time in the wake of a ‘breakthrough’ council move. And he warns that with less than two weeks left before the ‘free parking’ day, changing posters now could severely undermine efforts to promote the occasion.
“The Chamber, and other sectors of the Haslemere community, have been at odds with Waverley over various parking issues for a long time. The one-day concession, which follows some intense lobbying, raises hopes that our concerns will be heard more sympathetically in future.
“Because of the short timescale, we wanted to help local businesses make the most of this opportunity. Our poster was prepared within hours of news breaking in Haslemere on Thursday 7 November. The poster was enthusiastically welcomed by local businesspeople that evening, and it was made widely available via our website shortly afterwards.
“However, the council’s poster did not appear until 12 days later, when the four chambers in Waverley were asked if their logos could be used on it.
“This week we were asked in an email by the Economic Development Team to remove the downloadable red poster from our website and replace it with the council’s ‘to avoid confusion’. We are not prepared to do this, but we will make their poster available on our website.
“The Chamber has been instrumental in getting this matter to council, and in driving the subsequent promotion and publicity campaigns. Changing course at this late stage would in our view hold greater danger of confusion – and would certainly be detrimental to our members.”
For the record: Waverley Borough Council is waiving all parking charges in its car parks on Saturday 7 December. In Haslemere, this covers four car parks: High Street, Chestnut Avenue, Tanners Lane and Weydown Road. All other parking restrictions apply as usual. The station car parks are managed by South West Trains and are therefore not included in the concession.
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