A three-month experiment which introduced free parking at Southwick Square car park on Saturdays was ‘very successful’, according to traders in the town.
The free parking scheme, which was implemented by Adur District Council and funded from a one-off pot of Government cash designed to support businesses in retail areas, ran from the end of September to December.
Nikki Lilley, manager of Peter Marson Opticians and secretary of the Southwick Traders Association, said the results for businesses in Southwick Square were ‘better than expected’.
“The square was so much busier. It definitely made a difference,” she said.
“The car park was almost full every Saturday.”
She said she would ‘ideally’ like to see the scheme continue.
“It would be fantastic,” she said. “We have proof it works.”
Mike Forrest, from Southwick Square Meats, agreed.
“It would be nice if we could keep it going, if the council could meet us half way,” he said.
He said the scheme had brought in an extra 30 or 40 customers to the butchers every Saturday.
“We were very pleased with that,” he said. “It definitely worked.
“If people can’t park, they won’t stay. They are so used to going to supermarkets.”
Lindsay Skene, owner of Linden Tree Flowers, said of the scheme: “Customers in the shop gave really good feedback.”
She said even local shoppers tended to drive and free parking attracted them to the square rather than the Holmbush Centre.
Lynda Dine, head of place and investment at the council, said: “The initial feedback from traders has been positive. Anecdotal evidence suggests a good increase in footfall with the council keen to support traders in developing a scheme that allows the success to continue.”
A spokesman said there were no plans to continue the scheme, but that the council was continuing to work to find a long-term solution.