By Ian Dipple Wednesday 05 December 2012 Updated: 06/12 10:12
DISABLED parking bays in a town centre street could be opened up at night to all motorists in a bid to boost Redditch's evening economy.
Worcestershire County Council is currently considering the idea which would see the disabled bays on Church Road available to all users after 6pm.
Evidence is still being gathered and the full findings will not be available until January, but initial research suggests while the spaces are well used by disabled motorists during the day, they do not use them of an evening and it is felt there is no need to keep them exclusive to one group for 24 hours.
The move is designed to increase the amount of short stay on-street parking within the town centre area as a way of supporting businesses.
Coun Brandon Clayton, county councillor for the town centre area, said if the plan went ahead it would be on an experimental basis and would feed in to wider efforts to regenerate that side of the town centre including attracting more businesses in to Church Green, bringing the bandstand back in to use and the mooted Church Road development.
"At night people want to come in to town to use restaurants and with the new café/bistro opening on Church Green East, this will make it easier, especially for those coming in from the west side of town," he said.
"We're not excluding disabled motorists, they will still be able to use those spaces at night as well, but this is something businesses have asked for and we are looking at it.
"We are in the process of evidence gathering at the moment but our figures show those spaces are rarely used by the disabled after 6pm because they have done their shopping during the day and at night want to park elsewhere."
Work to reconnect Redditch Town Centre after more than 30 years begins on Thursday (December 6). As the Standard exclusively revealed in September the buses only restriction at the bottom of Church Green West is being removed having been in place since about 1977.
Traffic will now be able to drive through the town centre from either Easemore Road or Unicorn Hill instead of having to divert on to the ring road. Removable speed humps will be installed on Church Green to ease concerns about speeding traffic. The move has been introduced on a trial basis and will be reviewed in 12 months.
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