THERE have been calls for 30 minutes free parking in Fordingbridge to encourage people back into the town.

The matter was raised during discussions about the town centre car park at Fordingbridge Town Council’s meeting last Wednesday.

Councillor Brian Perkins said 30 minutes of free parking would “bring so many people back into the town”.

He added: “Looking at it long-term if you get people to come and park and use the 30 minutes they will come into the town and shop. Then they might say we’ll stay a bit longer and either buy a clock or spend at the machine.”

Residents are able to buy parking clocks, which give discounted parking in New Forest District Council car parks.

New Forest District councillor Ann Sevier, who represents Fordingbridge, said: “This is not the only place that has been asking for an extra free 30 minutes.

“There has been absolute, total resistance to this from all quarters. It is not my decision obviously, it is a general decision, and every year we discuss it at the district council and well everybody says we’ve got the clock.”

She added: “It is always a good discussion, we have this discussion every year and it has always been decided the clock system seems to work very well.”

Town council chairman, Paul Anstey asked that a formal request be made to the district council for 30 minutes free parking in the town centre car park.

Cllr Antsey said: “If members of the public ask what we have done we can show there is a trail that we have asked.”

Cllr Sevier said it was likely it would be discussed by the district council after Christmas and said she would “bring it up”.

During the meeting, Cllr Perkins raised concerns over signage to Fordingbridge car park and that tourists could not find the car park.

The meeting heard this would be flagged up with the local authority and that Hampshire County Council were responsible for signage.

Councillor Anna Wilson said signs at the car park were also causing “confusion” for visitors wanting to pay for parking with a card by directing them to a machine behind the Co-op.

She said: “If you’re not local you won’t know where the Co-op is. There have been a number of people going into the Co-op causing havoc by complaining that the staff don’t know anything about it.”

Councillor Sevier said she would raise this with the district council. She also said there had also been talks about “renewing” some of the ticket machines in the future.