This weekend Cllr Allen Gage (Willaston & Rope) accepted an open Invitation to Sandbach Town. He describes his visit below in advance of the Highway & Transport Committee Meeting next Thursday (25th January 2024) where car parking charges will be the substantive item under discussion.
“Today I accepted an open invitation to visit Sandbach regarding potential changes to car parking charges in the borough. As a highways committee member I felt it was only fair to hear concerns in person before voting on an issue that could potentially affect livelihoods. I trust the same courtesy would be shown to Willaston & Rope if we ever ask or require”
“I spent four and a half hours meeting and listening to independant business owners which has proved helpful. I also met with the management of Waitrose (a first time crossing their threshold for me!) whom unexpectedly and refreshingly spoke at length about the overlap and synergy that exists between their store and the wider town centre as a whole - they have purposely set their car park allowance at 2 hrs to allow their shoppers to venture into town without the need to re-park.”
“Common themes and concerns were as follows:
- A drop in overall footfall.
- 30 min time limit restrictions having an effect on the circular/knock on effect economy.
- Potential need to cut staff/employment hours.
- Businesses working hard to diversify and find creative ways to survive only to feel knocked back.
- A general belief that some businesses will find turnover impacted to the point of closure.
- Irreversible repurposing of shop units in the town centre.
- The changes feel like a double whammy blow during this global economic situation.
- Fears that Scotch Common will become the default long stay option which will impact market and other nearby trade.
- Frustration that local backers of this policy did not bother to discuss these plans during the recent local elections in May.”
Cllr Gage further explained”
“I will take all the above into consideration when asked to vote on the car parking policy at the end of January. Thank you to Cllr Ann Nevitt for the invite and days itinerary, and also to Cllr Tim Wheatcroft and Cllr Kelvin England for showing me round your town
It was great to see colleague Cllr Mike Muldoon at his residents surgery this morning hearing locals' concerns for the future of their town - I know first hand that Mike has been working away behind the scenes on this issue.
I even spotted a perfect birthday gift for my pug loving little brother - glad I had a wander through the high street today!
Thank you to all the business owners and shoppers who took the time to talk today, it really helped add living colour to the black and white of committee papers.”
The Highway and Transport Committee Meeting takes place on Thursday 25th January 2024 at The Capesthorne Room, Macclesfield Town Hall at 10.30 am.