So, Land Securities who own The Centre in Livingston is going to start charging for parking. Well, that’s good news. It really is.
Well, it’s good news if you happen to be a shopowner in any of the county’s towns other than Livingston. If you run a little hardware store, grocery shop, hairdressers, Post Office or stationery shop then your business is about to rocket.
For years now we’ve grown accustomed to “nipping down to the centre” for odds and ends. You need a pair of shoelaces? Or a lightbulb? No problem. Zip into the centre carpark, run into the shop, grab what you need and get out again quick.
Livingston residents didn’t really think about it. A pen, or a newspaper – some small item that you urgently needed – you would jump in the car, zoom down to The Centre, pull into a parking space, get what you needed and be gone again within minutes.
Easy and free car parking was always one of the major attractions of using The Centre.
But that’s no longer the case. Now, a pair of shoelaces will cost you 50p, plus whatever they decide to charge for the pleasure of shopping there. That’ll be right.
Want to post a letter? Or check your bank statement? Then add the parking charges. And if you think you’ll be able to park in the streets around the centre, we have been warned of “resultant traffic management issues”. You can bet you life the area will be crawling with Parking Wombles.
And if you think you can go by bus, think again. Have you ever tried getting a flat-pack wardrobe onto a bus? Or what if you get your purchase home and find it doesn’t work? That’s right; back you go and pay the parking charges again!
I predict that sales over the Internet will rocket throughout the county.
You know, I have shopped at – and supported – the centre since 1976, when Woolco was the only shop that was there. Remember that?
Well, no more.
There are plenty of little towns around the county that offer quick and simple shopping – with no parking fees. If you’re a butcher, a baker or candlestick maker in Broxburn, Bathgate, West Calder and so on… you have a new customer the minute they turn the ticket machines on.
And I suspect I’ll not be the only one. Good news for you, eh?