Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, is urging Thanet District Council to address concerns raised by independent traders along Northdown Road after a High Street walkabout with County Councillor, Michael Jarvis. Laura said "Visiting local businesses during a walkabout was extremely useful and we got a lot of feedback from the companies about their concerns.
"There is serious disquiet that half an hour free parking is being proposed for Birchington whilst other parts of Thanet are being left behind. Traders in Cliftonville described customers being deterred from browsing by the parking charges. The shop owners I spoke to thought this was extremely unfair and I completely agree; we need to encourage customers to shop locally, not deter them. I have also had some strong representations from Ramsgate and Broadstairs about this proposal that seems to be uniquely for Birchington. The Council are now undertaking a parking review across Thanet and I sincerely hope that they will ensure that there is a level playing field for high streets across the District.
"Another very pressing issue for traders is that of business rates. I am very pleased that under new legislation, local authorities will soon have the opportunity to control business rates themselves in order to target discounts in certain areas. Greater control over business rate discounts will also allow the Council to better attract new businesses to an area. I would strongly urge the Council to harness these powers and use them to revive our high streets."
Laura Sandys visited local traders after meeting with constituents at St Paul's regular Monday coffee morning.