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Town shopkeepers face extinction because of useless new council

(May 12, 2010)
WARMINSTER'S Independent traders look set to make their last stand at the area board meeting on 20 May when they need to convince Wiltshire cabinet member Dick Tonge that the town cannot withstand another assault by Wiltshire Council.
Speaker after speaker at a specially convened town council meeting in the Assembly Rooms tonight made it clear that our independent traders face extinction if the unitary county council insists on introducing car parking charges here.
Traders are only just recovering from the misery caused by the 'town enhancements' which robbed the town centre of so many parking spaces and dragged on for a year longer than expected.
Nick Croker from Stationery Plus in The Cornmarket, said: ''Last time charges were brought in it cost us 30 per cent of our turnover.
''Now we are competing against  supermarkets, the net and out of town retailers all of which have free car parking.''
Michael Turner, who has five businesses in the town, said the charges are the best way to kill a market town that relies on trade from 26 villages.
Kay Langley from Town Pets, who has collected a 4,000 signature petition against the charges, said: ''The town is already very quiet and if we don't have free parking we won't have any shops left at all.
''The two and a half years of road works killed trade.''
Chris Linham, from the butcher's shop in Chinn's Court, said ''How have Devizes and Melksham brokered a deal where their shoppers don't have to pay?
''We need to have some form of level playing field.''
Others suggested that workers at least needed the opportunity to purchase season tickets in the town centre car parks.
 Another speaker pointed out the anomaly of shoppers and workers being able to park all day in the Salisbury area for two pounds if they used the Wilton park and ride yet people wanting to spend the day in hard-hit Warminster have to pay five pounds.*
* The Salisbury Park and Ride Scheme is losing about a million pounds a year and we as Wiltshire Council tax payers are underwriting the loss!

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