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Trafford Park pub leads Manchester United match day parking protest
8:00am Friday 23rd August 2013 in News
A PUB in Trafford Village is spearheading a campaign against a parking scheme that operates near Old Trafford on Manchester United match days.
Paul Downes, the landlord of The Village Inn, claims he has lost several hundred thousand pounds worth of trade since the introduction of controlled parking zones near Old Trafford five years ago and has launched the Trafford CPZ campaign in response.
Trafford CPZ (controlled parking zone) is modelled on the Barnet CPZ Action Group which recently won a High Court battle preventing its council from charging residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue.
With the first Manchester United home game fast approaching, on Monday August 26 against Chelsea, Paul is convinced Trafford Council are doing the same and has called for an end to the ‘stealth tax forced on fans.’ He said: “My family has been at the Village Inn for almost 14 years now but after initially rescuing the pub we are now close to collapse due to the 'traffic management scheme' and the pub is suffering the worst trading period in its history.
“Both The Trafford Park Hotel and the Village Inn survived the Luftwaffe bombing raids but it is the permit parking blitz carried out by Trafford Council that is leading to their demise.”
In 2008 Trafford Council introduced a ban on match day parking within Trafford Village unless a £175 permit was purchased upfront for the season.
From August 25 the council will begin charging £4 to park on allocated parking bays, which is payable by credit card using a mobile phone or through pre-paid vouchers bought from The Village Inn, on Third Avenue.
Paul and the Trafford CPZ group have called for an end to the parking scheme and said that people are ‘reluctant to come near the pub due to continuing uncertainties of the scheme.’ Mike Cordingley, Labour councillor for the Gorse Hill ward, said that the parking scheme has been a failure.
“There is an issue of trying to manage the migration of fans after a match but the council have got greedy and made a real mess of it,” said Councillor Cordingley.
“Why would fans pay that much for unsecured parking on an industrial estate. I have every sympathy with Paul Downes because I’ve visited Trafford Village during games and the streets are completely empty.”
A council spokesman said: “Trafford Council introduced a match day parking scheme within the Village area of Trafford Park in 2008 to manage parking and overcome the parking congestion that occurred every match day and frequently blocked access to private businesses and junctions particularly for HGV’s.
“The scheme has reduced congestion and parking problems with around 170 cars now parking in a regulated way each match day.
“There is still capacity for more parking within the area, which offers football fans great value for money at a £4 parking charge per event.
“The council has agreed to promote the scheme and work with the Village Inn to find ways that the scheme can also support local businesses who may have been affected nationally by the downturn in trade during the recession.”
On August 26, in the build up to the Chelsea game, the group is planning a huge publicity campaign on Sir Matt Busby Way to gain more support and make fans aware of the parking scheme.
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