Shoppers welcome prospect of free parking

MORE CONVENIENT: Dawn Coleman, Nicola Llewellyn, Mandy Farrell, Emma Spence and Stephanie Fleet.
MORE CONVENIENT: Dawn Coleman, Nicola Llewellyn, Mandy Farrell, Emma Spence and Stephanie Fleet.

DRIVERS in Hartlepool say they would welcome free parking with open arms.

The Mail spoke to several customers entering and leaving Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, in Hartlepool, about the prospect of being able to park charge-free in the town.

It’d definitely bring more people to the town because it puts them off paying when you can go to other places for free.

Nicola Llewellyn

Dad Stephen Kearney, from Hartlepool, kicked off the positive response to the issue.

He said: “I wouldn’t say no to free parking. It would be a lot cheaper for us and for everyone.”

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Heavy goods vehicle driver Peter Cook said: “Definitely. It would save me a fortune every week.”

The 50-year-old dad added: “I think it would bring a lot more trade to the town as well.”

Teenager Sam Tillott-Gray, 16, said: “I obviously don’t drive but I think it would be a good idea. Some people don’t always have the money on them when it comes to parking so it would be a lot more convenient.”

And friends Dawn Coleman, 41, Nicola Llewellyn, 40, Mandy Farrell, 45, Emma Spence, 39, and Stephanie Fleet, 34, who had all been shopping in Middleton Grange said they would definitely welcome the change.

Nicola said: “It’d definitely bring more people to the town because it puts them off paying when you can go to other places for free.”

Stephanie said: “It’d be more convenient because you don’t always have the money on you or the right change. I put £2 in the parking meter and should have got 60p change but I never.”

Dawn said: “It’d be ideal if you’re just popping in for something to be able to just park without paying. I think more people would use the shopping centre.”

Traders in town also said they would welcome the move.

Manager of Specsavers Ian Walker said: “It would be a long time coming. It would make a massive difference to both the shopping centre and the town centre as a whole.

“So many people are put off by parking charges. People want convenience, especially when they’re just popping in for something. They don’t want to be charged for an hour or two hours.

“I speak to so many people who say they go elsewhere because of the parking charges.”

And Mary Hetherington, a shop assistant from ladies clothing store Bonne Marche, in Middleton Grange, said: “It would be a big help to everybody.”