MORE 'stop and shop' parking bays are needed in Hounslow to help struggling traders, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has claimed.
The cost of parking is the biggest single factor affecting firms in Hounslow, according to the group's south west London spokeswoman Veronika Weisweiller.
Nearly 3,200 companies across the borough have closed in the last two years alone, according to a recent BBC survey, more than anywhere else in London.
Ms Weisweiller met Brentford & Isleworth MP Mary Macleod earlier this month (May 3) to discuss some of the issues behind this alarming statistic.
Parking, cleaning and business rates were the top areas she identified where action is needed to give companies a helping hand.
Hounslow Council last autumn introduced free 'stop and shop' parking for up to 30 minutes at five shopping parades across the borough.
However, Ms Weisweiller wants the initiative to be extended to other parades, including Kingsley Road, in Hounslow, and Brentford High Street.
"The cost of parking is really affecting small businesses in the borough and we need more 'stop and shop' spaces," she told the Chronicle. "Over the last 15 years we've seen a terrible increase in parking fees and therefore a reduction in the footfall and profitability of shops."
Ms Weisweiller also called on the council to work more closely with businesses to clear up rubbish dumped behind shops and to seek new valuations to help reduce business rates.
Ms Macleod gave her support for more 'stop and shop' at the recent meeting in Brentford, where she also signed up to become a 'Real Life Entrepreneur Champion'.
She promised to listen to the concerns of businesses in the borough and represent them on a local and national level.