Tuesday, March 10, 2015

News: Council matches Tesco offer

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Businesses in Rotherham town centre will be hoping for a boost as new free parking offers are introduced on the key Forge Island site.

In November, 220 car parking spaces were opened for visitors and shoppers on the site of the old Tesco store. The new £40m Tesco Extra, which also includes 540 parking spaces, opened across town on a five-acre site that was home to a number of council buildings on Drummond Street.

The council stepped in on Forge Island to offer 70 free spaces for an hour, with the remainder being charged at £1 for two hours, £2 for four hours and £3 all day parking.

Now, during the week Monday to Friday, motorists using the current one hour free bays in the Red Zone will be able to be able to park for three hours at no charge, matching the maximum time at the new Tesco store.

And at the weekends there will be free parking across the whole Forge Island car park, an offer only usually avalibale in council car parks over the festive period.

Karl Battersby, strategic director for Environment and Development Services for the Council, said: "It is an extremely handy car park for anyone visiting the shops and businesses around west side of town and offers an easy access parking option into the town centre as a whole, including the area around The Minster and the High Street.

"The increased free parking will be offered over the next three months as a trial period to see how the public react. However, we are sure that this "on-the-doorstep" parking will be appreciated by the many businesses, shops and restaurants in that area, who we have pledged to support as the town centre evolves."

Peter Bird of Peter Bird Hair Designs on Corporation Street, added: "It's wonderful and in my view, a really good move. I am delighted that the authority has actually listened to the traders, who have been asking for more free parking for a long time. This is a good start to what should be a controlled free-parking town.

"Traders and businesses in the town are really trying their best and there is a lot of good news around with the improvements and the extension to the market. The increase in free parking on Forge Island means that the shopping experience for visitors will be much easier and more pleasurable."

Identified by the council as the preferred location for a new town centre cinema and theatre, the latest discussions have been around using the prominent site to create a public sector office hub, which could result in thousands of additional jobs in the town centre.

As part of the Tesco move, the council has an option to buy the Forge Island site for £1.5m. Arrangements have been progressed for the strategic acquisition of the vacated site, which could include a purchase and sale to a third party.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: RMBC

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