Hillingdon’s Conservatives Against Engagement With Residents and Businesses About Changes To The “Shop and Stop” Scheme

Conservative run Hillingdon council have recently made changes to the popular “Stop and Shop” scheme which has resulted in local businesses losing trade, which is particularly hard at a time when we are all facing the cost-of-living crisis.

The changes to the scheme mean that the simple process of getting a free 30 minute pay and display ticket, by pressing a single button, has been replaced by the need for residents to present their Hillingdon First Card, to the card reader on the pay and display machines.  It also means that non-residents can no longer get a free 30-minute ticket.  This has already had a detrimental impact on the local businesses.

Hillingdon’s Labour group Leader, Cllr Peter Curling, moved a motion at the full council meeting on 14th July calling on the Conservative cabinet member for Residents Services and the Council’s older persons champion to engage with local business forums, elderly persons organisations and residents’ groups and to consider alternatives to the changes in the stop and shop scheme.

The whole Conservative group voted against the motion, with the Leader of the council, Cllr Ian Edwards, stating that the change has been bought in to raise £690,000 from the extra parking charges.

After the meeting Cllr Curling said: –

“The Stop and Shop scheme was introduced to enable drivers to park their cars for free for the first 30 minutes, this is to encourage people to stop off at local town centres and out of town shopping parades to use local businesses and thereby help the local economy.

Hillingdon’s Conservatives always bang on about being the party of business and putting residents first, however this evening they have proved to be the exact opposite.  The recent changes to the stop and shop scheme mean that our local businesses are suffering and our residents, particularly the elderly, now have a more complex and frustrating process to follow, just to get a ticket, plus it restricts residents ability to stop and shop in more than one location, because if the Hillingdon First card has already been used, it can’t be used again, just down the road.

I made the point in my speech, that the right to be a customer of a local business is not a territorial right of where you live or if you hold a Hillingdon First Card.  Our local businesses deserve a council that works with them and helps the local economy, rather than hinder their trade in this way.

Obviously the Hillingdon Conservative group do not understand or appreciate our local traders and businesses.  I sincerely hope that they will reflect on these poor decisions and actually engage and listen to the people they are elected to represent.”