TRAFFIC wardens could be putting people off coming into Stafford as drivers fear they will be slapped with fines, it is claimed.
Councillor Ann Edgeller says borough council parking enforcement wardens are everywhere in the town and it does not make a great impression.
“I come into town myself and everywhere I look they are there, often walking around in pairs,” she said.
“It is not very customer-friendly at all. We want people to come into the town and do their shopping, not to go elsewhere.”
It follows news parking wardens raked in more than £375,643 for the borough council last year through parking fines.
The borough council had predicted the final figure for the number of tickets issued last year would be 15,000, which was reported in the Newsletter last week.
But at a joint parking committee on Tuesday members were told the actual figure was 13,847, which was less than council bosses had predicted.
Councillor Philip Jones said parking needed to be tackled in both Stafford and Stone to attract more shoppers and keep the economy booming.
He said: “We should have free parking after 3pm - Free after Three.
“I often wonder if there is a relationship between parking enforcement and the number of empty shops in our high streets. Supermarkets know the value of free parking for their customers.
“Mary Portas has convinced the Prime Minister that the decline of the high street leads to the death of a town so it is time we gave the high street a break by having free after three parking.
“This borough could trial something like that. I would certainly welcome it to be trialled in Stone.”
Councillor John Francis added future developments, such as the Morrisons at Kingsmead and the Riverside development in Stafford would have an effect and the issue needed to be tackled head-on.
Joint parking committee chairman Judith Dalgarno said the free after three idea was worth consideration.
It is set to be discussed at a future meeting.