In October last year I wrote about Nottingham City Council's workplace parking levy. Any business that has more than 10 spaces for its staff, now has to pay the council £279 per year, per space. This scheme commenced in April.
Already this is a having an effect. In a report in the Nottingham Post, property consultancy FHP says some companies who are looking at moving are considering other options outside the levy zone.
James Hartley, of FHP's office and industrial team had this to say:
No business likes additional costs, and the unfortunate fact is that, although the workplace parking levy was planned sometime ago, it has come into force at the worst possible moment.
Trading conditions remain extremely tough, businesses have been struggling with rising raw material prices and economic confidence is low.
The last thing they want is an additional cost and a change in location is one way to avoid it.
We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the city centre remains a very attractive location for all sorts of reasons, including, of course, its good transport links, and some businesses are in a position to grin and bear the levy.
However, there has been a clear trend in some recent inquiries that FHP has been handling for occupiers to ask about locations outside the city in places where rents are lower and there is no levy to pay.
Of course the city centre is an attractive place to do business if you are looking for footfall. Not all businesses are though, and these are the businesses who may want to flee to escape the levy. Responsible business owners who provide off-street parking for their employees are being penalised, whereas those who do not or cannot provide parking facilities are not.
If businesses choose not to move, they can decide not to provide parking spaces which would then push more parking problems on to the streets.
Small and medium sized businesses thinking of expanding or relocating are thinking the levy is one cost too many. This is hardly surprising. Nottingham City Council should do everything it can to help businesses. Instead it has dreamt up a way off adding further costs when they can least afford it.