Traders in Kettering have given a mixed response to a council’s attempts to bring more shoppers into town by lowering parking charges.
From August 1, Kettering Council lowered the two-hour parking rates at the London Road car park from £2.20 to £1.50.
But there is now no one-hour charge after the old cost of £1.10 was abolished.
David Aguilar, manager of Bee Inspired Ltd, in Market Street, said: “I have mixed feelings about the situation.
“At least the council are finally doing something about the parking.
“It hasn’t really reduced the cost, it is more of an increase as no hour parking exists – though it does benefit those who are out for two hours.
“People are going elsewhere to park which is a disadvantage to my business as I’m losing customers.”
Only one trader out of eight who spoke to the Telegraph felt that the new rates were making a difference to their business in the first month.
Rosi Greenall, manager of Junior Choice, in Market Street, said: “It’s fantastic, it’s helped us bring in customers.”
Other traders are less optimistic that the parking rates will make any difference.
The council has changed the costs in the car park for a year to test whether the new prices will increase footfall.
Previously, traders have hit out at the charges, which increased last year.
Storekeepers on Market Street collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition to lower the charges.
Suzanne Grainger, a manager of Cransley Hospice coffee shop, in Horsemarket, said: “There is no change introduced, it’s beneficial for those who are wanting to browse for two hours but there is not enough of a difference being made.”
Philip Mitchell, owner of the Mews Cafe, in Market Street, said: “We campaigned to encourage people to stay in the town centre, but not enough has been done for that to happen.
“We’re trying to encourage people to stay longer in the town.
“We want people to find stores they didn’t know existed.
“That is why we petitioned for the parking time to increase to four hours for £2.”
Other traders had a more positive view.
Marcus Parkinson, a letting agent from Limetree, in Market Street, said: “It’s great that they are dropping prices, it will bring people in to the town.”
Dave Ross, owner of Derek Smith, in Market Street, added: “Any reductions made are better than nothing.”