Free parking encourages shop opening

Salisbury Journal: Suzi Mason of Casa Fina Suzi Mason of Casa Fina

A SHOPKEEPER has decided to extend her opening hours after the reintroduction of free Sunday car parking in Salisbury.

Suzi Mason from gift and home accessories shop Casa Fina says her store will be open from noon to 4pm every Sunday until September because Wiltshire Council has made parking in Culver Street car park free.

She says that many independent retailers are choosing to open seven days a week in a bid to boost the appeal of Salisbury on a Sunday and compete with national chain stores.

“The free Sunday car parking in Culver Street was the catalyst for this decision,” she said.

“We have opened sporadically and in the run-up to Christmas before but I have decided to go for it this summer.

“If people are going to come here on a Sunday then we need to have something to offer them and, as Salisbury is lucky enough to have lots of independent retailers, we need to be part of it.”

A few years ago Sunday parking was free in all of Salisbury’s car parks before Wiltshire Council introduced the £1.70 fee.

Last month it announced the 528 spaces at Culver Street car park would be free on Sundays, news which has been welcomed by shoppers and business owners alike.

“Parking prices in Salisbury have been a problem for a long time,” said Mrs Mason.

“People resented paying on a Sunday and they are pleased it’s now free, although word needs to spread so that everyone knows about it.”

To coincide with the reintroduction of free Sunday parking, the Journal has launched a Shop Salisbury initiative to support the boost in Sunday trade.

The campaign is supported by business leaders, the Salisbury Business Improvement District, tourism organisations and retailers.

“I think that traditionally Salisbury has lagged behind a little with Sunday trade but it’s what all our competitors are offering,” said Mrs Mason.

“With special events like St George’s Day and the extra Sunday markets in the Market Place, the city will have more of a buzz on Sundays this year.

“A lot of my customers on Good Friday were tourists visiting the city and I’m sure it will be the same on Sundays.

“We need to welcome customers seven days a week to make the most of this opportunity.”

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