Traders say Forest parking fee review will be 'too late'
TRADERS say a review of car parking charges in the Forest of Dean will come "too late" for many businesses.
At a meeting on Thursday night, the district council agreed to carry out a review of the impact – but not until July when 12-month figures will be available.
Yesterday Sheila Taylor, who runs Rainbow Mind, Body & Spirit shop in Lydney, said: "My business will have gone by then.
"I have lost 50 per cent of trade in three months and will probably be shut by Christmas.
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"It's entirely down to the parking charges."
Controversy has reigned since the charges were introduced earlier this year and opponents have continued to rail against them.
Campaigners from Hands Off Our Towns (Hoot) protested outside the council offices in Coleford ahead of the meeting.
Inside, councillors and members of the public challenged the ruling Conservatives over the "devastating" effect it was having on businesses.
A motion was put forward by opposition Labour councillor, Paul McMahon, for an immediate community impact assessment to be undertaken.
He said: "Raising revenue shouldn't be about destroying people's lives and their businesses."
He said evidence could be quickly gathered by the street wardens.
But council leader Patrick Molyneaux said that was a "wholly inadequate approach" and, if done, the review would need to be carried out by professionals and look at facts and figures.
He questioned whether traders would be willing to open their books to show evidence of falling trade.
Debate raged for more than 45 minutes before it was agreed by a majority to undertake an assessment in July.