Free stop-to-shop plan

Residents who have parking permits will not see a further rise in their charges — and Thurrock Council is seeking to make short park-and-shop visits free.

Cllr Val Morris-Cook — the council’s portfolio holder for parking provision — made the proposals at Wednesday (6 July) evening’s meeting of the cabinet.

Members had agreed new parking charges in February, but July’s meeting was told there had been some errors in the initial report and corrections were needed to be agreed.

Cllr Morris-Cook said: “It’s not fun being here and admitting that mistakes were made, but on the other hand it is a pleasure to give some potential good news too.

“I can confirm categorically that residents parking permits will not go up again. In 2012/13 and 2013/14 they will remain the same. We have to protect householders living near railway stations so they can be sure of having somewhere to park their vehicle close to home.

“We can’t just keep hiking prices.”

On stop-to-shop, she said: “This is something aimed at boosting local businesses. On our on-street parking, I am asking for a paper to come to the next cabinet meeting for a 15-minute ‘amnesty’ so people who need to nip out and grab some quick shopping won’t have to pay.”

She added: “I’d like to be able to say people will be able to simply get a free 15 minute ticket, but I’m told that would cost far too much to implement, but our civil enforcement officers will be instructed to keep an eye on the cars to make sure nobody overstays their welcome.

“The new CCTV camera car will be ideal for monitoring this.”

She said: “This will cost in the region of £5,000 for the council, but I’m sure it will provide a major boost for local small businesses, especially in Grays where the meters in Clarence Road and Derby Road should be available for people to stop-and-shop for nothing.

“I want to say to small businesses: ‘We are on your side, we want to get people to shop locally’.”

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