MORE parking should be introduced in Henley and business rates reduced, say business owners.
These were among the suggestions at a meeting for businesses to contribute to the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, held at the town hall on Tuesday.
About 15 owners attended the meeting, which was hosted by Nexus Planning, the plan consultants.
The meeting agreed the most important issue was easing congestion and providing more parking spaces with suggestions including a multi-storey car park and a park and ride scheme.
Marketing consultant Mike Wood, of The Publicity Works in Haywards Close, said: “You could turn Greys Road car park into a real short-stay car park with a maximum stay of an hour, then maybe one to four hours at the station and a long-stay car park somewhere else. If you had a multi-storey car park by the station it would solve Henley’s problems.”
Jane Jordan, of Sno and Sun Gear in Market Place, called for business rate relief for independent businesses.
“It’s nearly impossible in Henley,” she said. “We have recently moved shops and we pay double the rates we did before. If you look around Market Place at the shops available now, only multinationals can afford them.
“People want to see something different but unfortunately we have lots of people in Henley who can’t keep their businesses going.
“We have lots of retail space, the problem is the rates. Could we have short lets? This would be good for shops selling arts and crafts, for example.”
Other suggestions included improving bus and train links with Oxford and Reading and offering benefits such as parking permits for those who live and work in the town.