A COUNCILLOR says he is furious that Redditch Council has passed up an opportunity to help shops in the town centre.

Local businesses approached the council with a petition, asking if there was a chance that more free car parking spaces could be made available for customers.

A gruop was formed to look at the request, which included members of the Highways department, the Town Centre Parnership, police and Councillor Brandon Clayton. The group devised an idea to take four of the taxi spaces on Unicorn Hill and make them available for shoppers, for up to 20 minutes, during the day, reverting them back to taxi spaces in the evening.

But then the taxi association compiled its own petition, stating members would lose out if shoppers were allowed to use four of their spaces during the day, and a council committee rejected the proposal.

Coun Clayton said: “Quite frankly I’m shocked that this was rejected. It was only for a trial period of one year and I really think it would have given businesses in that area a small boost.

“I am furious the committee made this decision, and I think the council has unwisely passed up a great opportunity to help local businesses.”

Councillor Andy Fry, chair of the licensing committee, which rejected the proposal, said: “I looked around the town myself and found there were always short stay spaces available throughout the town.

“The taxi rank has already been reduced with extra street furniture, bollards and plastic humps in the road.

“We took all the information from a representative from the shops and from the taxi drivers’ association and the decision was made taking all this into consideration, not on political will.

“Councillor Clayton did not hear this information so is wrong to challenge our decision.”