Parking refund plan proposed

Shoppers in Kettering could be in line to benefit from parking refunds if they spend a certain amount in the town’s stores, in a scheme to boost footfall.

Kettering Council is asking retailers in the town whether they would be interested in taking part in the scheme.

It would see customers who park in council-owned spaces will be eligible for a refund from their ticket with a minimum spend at certain stores.

The council has said it is in discussion with an unnamed major retailer in the town, who approached the authority on the possibility of a refund system.

If enough traders say yes, the council will look to print new tickets in their machines which are currently being upgraded.

Council head of environmental health Shirley Plenderleith said: “At the moment we’re trying to ascertain what traders would be interested.

“We have the facilities to put it in place, and by changing the software it could print out the refund voucher with the ticket, so that would be our contribution.

“It could be a case of spending something like £15 and getting £1 off parking. But we would leave it to the traders to implement it and run it their way.”

But one trader would not impressed with the possibility of propping up refund costs.

David Aguilar, owner of Bee Inspired Ltd, a craft store in Market Street, Kettering, said: “Our concern is that, yes, it’s a great idea but the council need to contribute more to it than just getting the tickets printed.

“If we have to refund parking costs, it would cost about £700 a year, and if we could only get 20 or 30 new customers in the shop, we would make a loss.

“We already have our own incentives to attract shoppers, and the council needs to understand that small retailers like ourselves can’t bear the brunt of costs.”