A Midland city centre is dying - according to the local MP.
Mike Foster, MP for Worcester, is locked in a row with the city council which he blames for turning the retail centre into "a ghost town".
He claims customers have been put off by the longrunning refurbishment of the city centre.
The fall in sales has been coupled with high rents, and now traders moving out, he says.
He said: "Evidence has emerged of an exodus of small shops from the city centre, with businesses suffering from lack of customers and massive rent hikes."
Mr Foster (Lab) called on the city council to introduce free parking on Sundays to entice shoppers back.
The MP said he had spoken to several retailers who were moving, considering closing down or had actually shut their doors and left the city.
He said: "The heart is being ripped out of our city centre. The prolonged refurbishment of the High Street has led to a massive loss of customers, and we need to get them back.
"On top of this, large rent increases are putting small shops out of business. What makes Worcester special is being eroded, and we need action now.
"One small retailer told me they had opened a whole day and not taken a penny in sales - another took less than twenty quid in a day.
"I am genuinely fearful that if we cannot attract the lost shoppers back then our city centre will become a ghost town, with arcades like Reindeer Court devoid of life."
He added: "If it wanted to, the city council can come to the rescue of these businesses and do what other local councils do, offer free car parking on Sundays. This way shoppers may be tempted back into Worcester and our local small shops can once again flourish."
Christopher Harvey, of Hereford and Worcester Chamber of Commerce, said: "It would be wrong to think traders are leaving in droves.
"But it is correct that some rents have increased significantly. Independent traders can be particularly hard hit by this. But they are the ones that give the city centre its character, and this benefits the chain stores too.
"They would welcome free Sunday parking, as it would create a reason for shoppers to choose Worcester."
A city council spokesman said: "The city's economy is in good shape, and doing better than some of our neighbours.
"We only recently moved to charging on a Sunday and it would be a backward step to change that now."