THE Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that free (timed) parking permanently in Shepparton would go a long way to helping breathe life back into the city, and help to boost shopping in the CBD.
At its monthly meeting, the chamber discussed several ways of helping to achieve this positive outcome for the city, with parking fees being high on the agenda as being significantly negative to shoppers and visitors to the city.
Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Carl Hainsworth said, “The challenge is to make Shepparton as shopping friendly as possible in an ever changing business world.
“Shepparton is competing with large shopping centres, other large regional cities and many smaller towns who don’t charge for parking.
“According to businesses during the last free parking trial in 2013, which council experimented with free parking on Mondays during a six week period, there was a huge increase in early week shopping, with one of Shepparton’s largest retailers, Harris Scarfe, experiencing a 33 percent increase in business.
“The chamber advocates free timed parking to boost shopping and at the same time encouraging car park movements in the CBD.
“To help reduce the abuse of free parking by employees and business owners, the chamber would encourage number plate recognition fines, something carried out successfully in other regional cities.
“The chamber believes that results of free parking in the CBD would be considerably noticeable among shoppers and retailers soon after implementation, however for Shepparton CBD to thrive again, it would require long term implementation as soon as possible.”