MELL Square car park's pay and display trial will be extended until December while a new three month trial is to be introduced at Lode Lane.
On Thursday Solihull Council's Transport and Highways committee approved plans to extend last year's 12 month pay and display trial at Mell Square until December 2013 and introduce a three month trial period at Lode Lane car park.
A report to committee acknowledged pay and display had been unpopular with some customers and local retailers, while income from the car park from April to December was around £170,000 less compared to the same period in 2011.
Independent Ratepayers representative Trevor Eames claimed independent traders had seen a 12 per cent reduction in trade since the trial, although Transport officer Paul Tovey said the figure was more like three per cent.
"People can't do a leisurely shop when they are worrying about getting a parking ticket," said Mr Eames.
"(Traders) express serious concerns about delaying the decision for another 12 months."
However Mr Tovey said the council and its partners such as Solihull BID, would be working to try and promote local traders through the creation of events to attract more visitors to Mell Square.
"We need to get more people to come back to Mell Square Car Park," said Mr Tovey. "We recognise it has had an impact in business
"We would certainly like to do some work with traders in Mell Square to help promote them."
The committee heard the pay and display system at Mell Square and Lode Lane car parks would save around £100,000 a year.
Paul Round, Mell Square centre manager, said he was keen to work with Solihull Council to promote traders and was hopeful a spirited compromise could be reached before the end of the 12 months.
"As far as retailers are concerned, not just in Mell Square but in the rest of town, a large proportion of their customers would like to see pay on foot reinstated as soon as possible," he said.
"However we understand there are other issues here and are keen to work with Solihull Council and other partnerships to attract additional customer to Mell Square to return it to levels of business it enjoyed some time ago."If income fell, I would envisage that will be fed back into the process."