East Riding parking charges back on the agenda

January 17, 2012 3:43 PM

Two years ago, I commented on East Riding of Yorkshire Council's car parking review panel. After many meetings, including a roadshow to gauge residents' opinions, councillors decided to postpone making a decision until there were two consecutive quarters of economic growth. It was reported last week that the council is considering this matter again, and the issue is back on the agenda.

Although I welcomed the decision not to introduce parking charges in some small towns and villages, the decision to do nothing failed to address the problems of high parking charges in towns like Beverley. Traders were complaining at the time high parking charges were having a detrimental impact on their businesses.  Martin Cuthbert of the Federation of Small Businesses had this to say:
"Free access to town centres is essential in these car-dependent times if the independent retail sector is to survive. Nationally, 135,000 small retail firms stand on the very brink of extinction. The number that survive and the number that fail will be determined by the length and depth of the recession, but the council's parking proposals will only add to their woes."

He also went on to say that parking charges, however small, would simply drive shoppers elsewhere.

None of what Mr Cuthbert said two years ago has changed. Town centres still need some free parking, or shoppers will look elsewhere to out of town shopping developments, or use the Internet more. You don't have to pay to park on the Internet. Trading conditions are still very difficult, and many independent shopkeepers are still staring bankruptcy in the face. The last they need is for the council to introduce charges.

In the case of Beverley, the council should offer incentives to visitors such as free parking in some council run car parks. It should also reduce the cost of a day's parking, which increased by over 40% in 2010.

The council must work with local people, not against them.Two years ago, I commented on East Riding of Yorkshire Council's car parking review panel. After many meetings, including a roadshow to gauge residents' opinions, councillors decided to postpone making a decision until there were two consecutive quarters of economic growth. It was reported last week that the council is considering this matter again, and the issue is back on the agenda.

Although I welcomed the decision not to introduce parking charges in some small towns and villages, the decision to do nothing failed to address the problems of high parking charges in towns like Beverley. Traders were complaining at the time high parking charges were having a detrimental impact on their businesses.  Martin Cuthbert of the Federation of Small Businesses had this to say:
"Free access to town centres is essential in these car-dependent times if the independent retail sector is to survive. Nationally, 135,000 small retail firms stand on the very brink of extinction. The number that survive and the number that fail will be determined by the length and depth of the recession, but the council's parking proposals will only add to their woes."

He also went on to say that parking charges, however small, would simply drive shoppers elsewhere.

None of what Mr Cuthbert said two years ago has changed. Town centres still need some free parking, or shoppers will look elsewhere to out of town shopping developments, or use the Internet more. You don't have to pay to park on the Internet. Trading conditions are still very difficult, and many independent shopkeepers are still staring bankruptcy in the face. The last they need is for the council to introduce charges.

In the case of Beverley, the council should offer incentives to visitors such as free parking in some council run car parks. It should also reduce the cost of a day's parking, which increased by over 40% in 2010.

The council must work with local people, not against them.

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