From the website of the Haslemere Chamber of Trade and Commerce, a statement issued last week regarding Waverley Borough Council’s plans to refurbish the Wey Hill fairground
Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce has voiced strong opposition to Waverley Borough Council’s plans for the Wey Hill fairground car park, subject of a public inquiry in April.
Acting President Craig McGowan says the Chamber is fundamentally opposed to the proposed works at a time when WBC – along with local businesses and the community at large – is facing economic difficulty.
He says: “WBC can ill afford to spend such money, currently, when its general budget is so stretched and there are other, more pressing, needs – particularly in meeting its legal obligations in a variety of services it is obliged to supply.”
Free parking is absolutely essential if the traders in Wey Hill are to maintain current levels of business – let alone hope for a future increase, he says.
“The availability of free parking is a major means of attracting customers to the Wey Hill area as it is small and does not have the wide range of shops that nearby retail centres have.
“Free parking gives consumers and the local community the freedom to make more frequent shopping trips. This maintains the shops’ viability, making them more able to meet business rates.
“The introduction of parking charges would deter customers – ultimately leading to a reduction in WBC’s income. One needs only to look at the Haslemere town centre car parking charges and the downturn effect the last increase had on trading levels in the town centre.”
Craig McGowan says free parking will also help on the jobs front. “It will ensure that Wey Hill traders can continue to attract and employ staff – without fear that their employees will be put off by having to meet substantial weekly car park charges.
“With employment kept to current levels, at least, wages earned will help to ensure households can continue to meet council tax bills – once again helping to maintain council income flows.”