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Traders welcome return of free Sunday parking in Enfield Town
Traders hope the return of free Sunday parking will bring shoppers back to Enfield Town centre.
The cabinet member for environment, Councillor Chris Bond, announced yesterday that parking will be free for up to three hours from mid November following months of campaigning from traders, churches and politicians.
Garry Kousoulou, of Goodlooking Optics in Genotin Road, campaigned for the council to make a U-turn over its parking charges in a bid to encourage more people to visit The Town.
The 38-year-old, who left a pile of petitions in the shop for customers to sign, said: I think it is very positive and it is very forward thinking of the council. As a retailer, I appreciate it and as a resident, I appreciate it.
“We are quite a specialist shop but I was speaking to a retailer last week who said it was the quietest week they had for 25 years.”
The father-of-three from Ladysmith Road in Enfield Town hopes the parking overhaul will bring more footfall back to The Town, which he believes has fallen since the introduction of parking fees.
From mid November, parking will cost £2 if people stay for up to four hours, £5 for up to six hours and £6 for more than six hours.
The controversial charges were introduced in January, with more than 7,500 people signing a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.
The council claims the fees – which are the same as weekly charges with a £1 rate for less than two hours parking, were introduced to reduce congestion and allow a greater turnover of spaces in the town centre.
Chris Theodoulou, who has run Emma Claire hairdressers in Church Street for 36 years, also campaigned for the council to reconsider.
He hoped to open the salon on Sundays, but changed his mind when the council introduced the charges.
Although he is pleased to hear the news, he believes the council has a way to go before the issues in The Town are solved.
He said: “It is not ideal, we campaigned for a lot more, but as far as I am concerned, it is a good start. I hope it is not for the short term.
“I have to honestly praise Chris Bond for his actions; it is a step in the right direction.”
Mr Theodoulou believes the council should introduce free parking after 4pm in The Town to encourage more late shoppers to visit.
Patricia Blair, branch manager of Waitrose in Palace Gardens, said it is “absolutely excellent” that the council has revoked its charges.
Aaron Pudney, deputy manager told the Enfield Independent in February that Sunday trade was down 20 per cent since the charges were introduced on January 8.
Ms Blair said she “sincerely hopes” free parking will improve sales, although the store will rely on the support of the people of Enfield.
Tim Taylor, who runs The Traditional Sweet Company in Palace Gardens seven days a week, said it is “good” to hear free Sunday will return.
Mr Taylor had not heard of the campaign or the petition but said it is “fantastic” if it brings people into Enfield.
He said: “We definitely noticed the trade went down quite a lot compared to when when it was free before. I think there were a lot more people around before.”