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Traders in Cheltenham fear street parking charges are hitting their businesses.

Until recently shoppers visiting Montpellier could park for free Photo:

Some traders in Cheltenham say that the introduction of on-street parking charges have hit their businesses. Previously shoppers could park for free in the Montpellier part fo the town. Now meters have been installed and they are having to pay.

Three businesses. Three views about this: the introduction of parking charges for the montpellier area of Cheltenham:

Restaurant Owner Ali Ansar says "It's making it very very difficult. I can see the flow of traffic on the street has also really cut back".

Restaurant Owner Ali Ansar says street traffic has already fallen

Another trader, Graham Ellis says he is concerned about the impact the charges will have: "What it is doing is, it's getting rid of the shopper who just likes to wander around and window shop. I'm a little bit surprised, It seems to be at the moment that the people can actually park. If they want to come and shop hopefully they can. I think it could be working. Early days yet. February is not the best month to judge".

You already have to pay to park in the centre of Cheltenham. But the streets around Montpellier have always been free. The county council held a public consultation and then introduced the on street parking charges.

Parking charges were introduced

John Pannett who also runs a business in the town says it's the last thing traders need:

"I am afraid that on the cusp of a recession, quite possibly, this seems to be the worst possible time to lay aprking charges on small businesses like these who depend on footfall to survive".

Gloucestershire county council - which is responsible for on street parking - says: "a review took place because some residents and businesses said they were having problems parking. So a scheme was devised aimed at making it much easier to find a space".

The council says the scheme aims to make it much easier to find a space

When we were filming there were certainly plenty of spaces available proof - say some traders - that fewer shoppers are using the street now that charges have been introduced.