Over the past two months while the complimentary parking has been in place, the Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry has engaged consultants to undertake an independent survey with traders and shoppers alike.
The overall summary of the survey was that traders and shoppers alike were in favour of the free parking while noting that no negative comments had been received.
Traders noted a significant rise in shoppers in the precinct and were clearly happier than when a similar survey had been conducted last July. There was also a general sense that trade was up.
Shoppers conveyed that they were less inclined to go destination shopping only and were more inclined to browse other shops while there or stop to have lunch or coffee. Others indicated that they came into the centre more often.
Other feedback from both traders and shoppers was that there were insufficient parking spaces for disabled shoppers as well as safe, secure and convenient parking for staff working in the precinct.
There was also widespread agreement from both traders and shoppers on parking time limits although some concern that free parking would have some impact on council revenue raising.
The one negative response concerned the aggressive nature of the parking inspectors with instances of fines being imposed for being a couple of minutes late or walking to meters to get a ticket.
The survey conducted by the Greater Shepparton City Council over the same period is still being evaluated and once done, will be presented to council for deliberation.