I like a bit of nostalgia myself, you know, pop the old rose tints on and reminisce but........
When I think of the amount of traffic on the road today and how much car ownership has risen over the last 4 decades. Then imagine a shopping environment without out of town retail parks and online shopping facilities it brings me out in a cold sweat!!
People just don't want to shop in town centres anymore and its the same throughout the country. There are far easier, cheaper and more convenient options these days and people choose them in their droves. I am one of them myself. You can blame the council for that if you want but personally I blame society in general.
And......if there were no parking charges in the town centre the majority of spaces would be taken, all day, by the folk who either work in the town or commute by bus or train from the town center.
People complain about the cost of parking but no one is forcing them to park there.