Free parking in town to fight superstores
SHOPPERS will be able to park for free at two of Ivybridge's car parks from tomorrow as the town fights back against competition from superstores.
Leonards Road and Glanvilles Mill car parks will offer free parking for up to two hours throughout December, thanks to funding from local businesses and organisations.
Normally a two-hour ticket costs £1.60.
The idea came from Levanter, the company which owns Glanvilles Mill shopping centre.
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The firm wants to encourage more Christmas shoppers.
Levanter's Jack Sutcliffe, approached Mike Saltern, South Hams District Councillor for Ivybridge Central. There followed consultation with businesses and the Town Team.
The initiative is being funded by councils and other organisations to off-set the loss in parking revenue.
The £7,800 cost based on previous years' estimates. Of this, £3,900 will be met by South Hams District Council, Ivybridge Town Council, and Devon County Council, and the remaining £3,900 will come from Levanter, and businesses including the Co-op, kitchenware retailer Lawsons, Lloyds TSB, Gribbles Butchers, and property firm Gordano Holdings.
Richard Peachey, chairman of the Ivybridge Chamber of Commerce, said the town was keen to counter competition from Plympton and Plymstock and from the superstores including the Lee Mill Tesco, Marsh Mills Sainsburys, and nearby Endsleigh Garden and Leisure, all of which have free parking.
"The town is ticking along and not doing too badly, but we're hoping this free parking will generate more custom and more profit," he said.
"The town is producing more premium niche retailers and attracting people but we are looking to attract them from Plymouth, the South Hams and further afield."
Mr Sutcliffe said: "Let's hope the scheme increases footfall in the town centre over the all important Christmas shopping period and can be the start of something more permanent."
Cllr Saltern said: "Ivybridge is different from other South Hams towns because it has so much competition locally.
"Having approached businesses and heard their concerns it became apparent how important this scheme could be.
"It's also a positive message that lots of organisations are getting involved with funding it.
"We want as many people shopping in Ivybridge as possible."
Gary Streeter, Devon South West's Tory MP and chairman of Ivybridge Town Team, said: 'This is an important initiative. Ivybridge can now compete in the run in to Christmas on a level playing field.
"With the town, district, and county councils working together, and the landlord of Glanvilles Mill taking a positive approach, the future for Ivybridge looks rosy.
"It is time for people to invest in this great little town."
Frances Reeve, Mayor of Ivybridge, said: "The town council is in favour of the initiative as it's such a positive thing for the town."