Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has unveiled plans to scrap centrally controlled parking quotas for town centres across the UK. The intention is to boost high street trading by allowing local governments to create moreparking spaces in towns by doing away with limits currently set by Westminster.
The plans come after Mary Portas’ review of the high street revealed that and many consumers and retailers have been quick to blame expensive and limited spaces for cars in town centres for putting these locations at a disadvantage to out-of-town schemes which often offer parking for free.
Speaking during the launch of the initiative yesterday, Pickles said: “Families and local firms face a parking nightmare under existing rules. Stressed-out drivers have to run the gauntlet of parking fines, soaring parking charges and a lack of parking spaces. These parking restrictions have hit small shops the hardest, creating ‘ghost town’ high streets which can’t compete with out-of-town supermarkets. We want to see more parking spaces to help small shops prosper in local high streets and
assist mums struggling with their family shop. We are standing
up for local high streets.”
The British Retail Consortium have shown support to the proposals, in particular, better accessibility for town centres, but did caution that extra parking spaces should not just be used as an extra revenue raising scheme by councils.
Tom Ironside, BRC Director of Business and Regulation, said: “It’s short-sighted to treat parking as a revenue raiser. High fees - which take advantage of shoppers - risk driving away business from town and city centres.
“Putting up parking charges may look like an easy option for cash-strapped councils but they shouldn’t be ignoring the wider impact on their communities and economies of the damage higher charges cause to town centres.”