MP Simon Danczuk has backed a change to Rochdale’s free parking policy after shopkeepers raised concerns that it is having a negative impact on town centre trade.
Rochdale council introduced three hours of free parking last year in a bid to attract shoppers to the town centre.
But independent shop owners in Yorkshire Street have argued the policy is being abused by town centre workers who are taking up free spaces that should be being used by customers.
Business owners claim some motorists regularly move their vehicle between different car parks throughout the day to avoid paying for parking.
Mr Danczuk said: “The free parking initiative is a fantastic idea but I think it needs to be tweaked slightly. It was designed to boost trade in the centre but sadly in some areas it appears to be having the opposite effect.
“The fact is, some motorists are taking advantage of the system and blocking parking spaces which could be used by potential shoppers and spenders.
“I have spoken to shopkeepers who have told me that a lack of available spaces was really putting people off.
“I have written to the council to pass on my constituent’s concerns about this,”
Council leader Richard Farnell said: “We have listened to shoppers and traders.
“The council has already agreed changes - free hours free Parking with no return to any town centre car park within 24 hours - to be introduced in next few months following legal process.”