MORE than 30 indepedent traders have called on Stroud District Council to scrap its loyality card scheme in favour of free town centre parking after 3pm.

A letter signed on behalf of some 30 businesses in the town centre brands the Stroud District Loyality Card initiative 'completely untenable' and adds that most shops cannot afford to offer the discount on top of its own promotions.

Instead, traders want free parking across Stroud after 3pm, as recommended in the recent Portas Review into high street sustainability, which warns that removing free parking puts independent shops at a 'massive competitive disadvantage.'

"On behalf of the independent businesses in Stroud signed below, we appreciate your interest in helping to support local businesses in this area, however our preferred option would be to offer free car parking after 3pm across Stroud," the letter reads.

"This would send a clear invitation to shoppers in their cars at that time to pop in and use the town, rather than going to other retail outlets with free parking.

"Once shoppers are familiar with this offer, we believe the footfall in Stroud will increase."

The Stroud District Loyality Card scheme, which is due to be launched in November, was announced early last month as the first of its kind in the UK ever to be rolled out across a whole district.

A spokesman for SDC has said it will give a response by the time the SNJ next goes to print.