Supermarket tax could make High Street parking cheaper
A LOCAL tax on Wiltshire’s biggest supermarkets and stores could pay for cuts
to parking charges in town centres, according to two Independent councillors.
Trowbridge Grove Cllr Jeff Osborn and Melksham Without North Cllr Terry Chivers have started a petition calling for the levy, which they claim could reinvigorate the county’s High Streets.
Cllr Osborn said: “When I talk to people car parking is what really hits them. Not only do smaller retailers have to compete with the supermarkets, but they offer free parking.
“Our proposed levy is based on the rateable value of the site, and it doesn’t apply to any store contributing less than £500,000.
“I don’t think it will totally cover the cost of car parking, but I think it will make a significant gesture in that direction.”
Their proposal for an 8.5 per cent levy is based on similar plans introduced in Northern Ireland, which are also being considered by other councils in the south west. It will be presented to the next full Wiltshire Council meeting on November 12 in Trowbridge.
Cllr Chivers said: “It’s not just supermarkets; larger out-of-town stores like Leekes or B&Q will be affected as well. It would make a difference, particularly in Melksham.
“I have nothing against them, I shop there myself, but people who would go into Melksham for the odd thing are put off by car parking charges. You talk to any small trader and they are struggling to survive, and we only have to look at the impact on shops on our High Streets.”
The pair have launched an online petition for the campaign, which currently has more than 180 signatures.
For details, visit you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/levy-on-wiltshire-supermarkets
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