Parking concerns raised by business leaders in a bid to solve Saffron Walden’s issues

Lucy Clarke, of Premier Travel, and Bruce King, of Cheffins, discuss parking in Saffron Walden. Picture: SAFFRON WALDEN BID

Lucy Clarke, of Premier Travel, and Bruce King, of Cheffins, discuss parking in Saffron Walden. Picture: SAFFRON WALDEN BID

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Business leaders in Saffron Walden have suggested discounted employee spaces at Swan Meadow could help solve the town’s parking problem.

According to the Saffron Walden BID Steering Group, parking is a major issue for business owners in the area and their staff.

As a result the group has been consulting with firms to identify common priorities they believe will help the town centre to thrive.

They are also exploring the possibility of setting up a Business Improvement District (BID) to provide the community with a stronger and more united voice.

Jim Brewin, chairman of the group and manager of Saffron Walden Waitrose, said such an idea – funded by a levy – would help create resources to drive improvements.

He added: “Over the last few months we’ve spoken to many businesses and residents about what could be done to improve trade and it’s clear that town centre parking is an issue many feel strongly about.

“Setting up a BID would mean we could provide a united business voice on parking policies and issues and help implement changes.”

Better signposting to the Swan Meadow car park for visitors, subsidised staff parking vouchers and more affordable monthly season tickets for employees are among ideas already suggested.

Fellow group member Lucy Clarke, from Premier Travel, said: “Many companies lack sufficient parking for their employees, who end up parking on residential streets some distance from the centre.”

On-street parking charges in Saffron Walden are currently £0.70 for a maximum stay of one hour.

The maximum time motorists are allowed to park in the common car park is just three hours.

Greg Smith is co-owner of Hill Street Chocolates. He said: “Retailers have told us during discussions that they worry that car park prices and time limits may discourage potential customers.

“Car park capacity, lighting, signage, security and enforcement are other areas of concern.”

Mr Brewin added: “There are some good examples up and down the country of where shoppers and workers have been able to benefit from free parking initiatives and a complete rethink on parking charges. We’d like to see the same thing happen in Saffron Walden.”

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