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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Bikes beat hike in car park fees
A store boss has bought bicycles for some of his staff to help them avoid a big hike in car parking charges.

Jim Balmer, who owns R Scott Menswear in Cirencester, was concerned by the district council's six-fold increase.

He has now given bikes to two of his longest serving employees to save them paying the 25-a-week parking fee.

Jeffrey Nash and David Roberts, who have clocked up nearly 80 years of service between them, were able to take up the offer because they live nearby.

'Commend cycling'

Mr Balmer said: "One of them has worked 42 years, one has worked 37 years for me.

"I thought they would make good use of them, because they live locally and it would save them bringing their car in and spending a fiver a day just to come into work."

Many traders in Cirencester and Tetbury complained that they were losing business as a result of the increases, which were introduced last April.

But Cotwold District Council said the rise brought the towns in line with others, like Stratford and neighbouring Cheltenham, which had much higher parking charges.

The cycling charity Sustrans is impressed by Jim Balmer's gift to his staff.

A spokesperson said: "We encourage employers to have travel plans for their staff.

"We commend people cycling to work, it not only saves them money but also helps them stay fit and healthy as well."

Councillor Lynden Stowe, the council's Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: "It is very encouraging to see a town centre employer taking this initiative - I hope others will follow.

"An added bonus will, of course, be greater availability of parking spaces for shoppers and visitors to our town."


SEE ALSO:
Battle over town car park charges
09 Jul 04  |  Gloucestershire


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