'Offer free parking' says Bradford MP

June 28, 2012 11:56 AM

When North Lincolnshire Council implemented two hours free parking in its car parks in Brigg, it was an immediate success. The increased footfall gave a boost to businesses struggling during these dire economic times.

In 2010, I commented on Sheffield City Council's decision to offer 15 minutes free parking in some of the busiest shopping areas of the city so those who want to park-up and visit two or three shops didn't have to find change to feed the meters. This too was popular with local businesses who got a small boost in trade.

Yesterday, the recently elected MP for Bradford West, George Galloway, called on Bradford Council to offer 30 minutes free city centre parking. It's not often I agree with Mr Galloway, however I agree with every word of the following:
Out of town retail parks already offer free parking and if we are to encourage people to shop locally then one of the measures surely must be to offer the same, for a limited period, say 30 minutes.

He went on to say:
We have to help maintain the businesses which are already suffering. The council does not get much revenue from shops which have boarded-up and gone away.

Too many councils regard motorists as easy money. Although they collect Business Rates, they do not keep them. This money goes straight to the Treasury, and short sighted councillors don't feel they have an incentive to help businesses. In our recent 2020 Tax Commission Report, we recommend local authorities should raise half of their spending power from local taxes. This would mean councils have a vested interest in doing everything they can to help businesses in their area.

There aren't any parking charges on the Internet, or in out of town shopping developments. Offering a limited amount of free parking is one way councils can help struggling town centre businesses.When North Lincolnshire Council implemented two hours free parking in its car parks in Brigg, it was an immediate success. The increased footfall gave a boost to businesses struggling during these dire economic times.

In 2010, I commented on Sheffield City Council's decision to offer 15 minutes free parking in some of the busiest shopping areas of the city so those who want to park-up and visit two or three shops didn't have to find change to feed the meters. This too was popular with local businesses who got a small boost in trade.

Yesterday, the recently elected MP for Bradford West, George Galloway, called on Bradford Council to offer 30 minutes free city centre parking. It's not often I agree with Mr Galloway, however I agree with every word of the following:
Out of town retail parks already offer free parking and if we are to encourage people to shop locally then one of the measures surely must be to offer the same, for a limited period, say 30 minutes.

He went on to say:
We have to help maintain the businesses which are already suffering. The council does not get much revenue from shops which have boarded-up and gone away.

Too many councils regard motorists as easy money. Although they collect Business Rates, they do not keep them. This money goes straight to the Treasury, and short sighted councillors don't feel they have an incentive to help businesses. In our recent 2020 Tax Commission Report, we recommend local authorities should raise half of their spending power from local taxes. This would mean councils have a vested interest in doing everything they can to help businesses in their area.

There aren't any parking charges on the Internet, or in out of town shopping developments. Offering a limited amount of free parking is one way councils can help struggling town centre businesses.

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