/ Money, Motoring

Councils can’t be trusted to cut parking charges

Woman paying for parking

Guidelines stipulating high parking charges in town centres have been abandoned. The government says this will allow councils to charge less – so how come the cost of parking is still going up?

The ‘war on the motorist’ is over, according Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond. Yes, you read that right, the government is giving the beleaguered motorist a break. Or is it?

Previously, government guidelines instructed councils to set high parking charges in town centres in order to encourage the use of public transport.

Now the guidelines have been scrapped, and councils have the freedom to set their own rates and ‘attract shoppers through setting competitive local parking charges’.

No councils cutting costs

But how many of our local councils will actually cut parking costs? At a time when our rulers are paring back public services with ruthless zeal, are councils really prepared to take a hit?

The answer, it would appear, is no. When I contacted the Department for Communities and Local Government, they weren’t aware of any councils that had decided to reduce charges.

And many councils seem to view this as a green light to increase parking costs. In London, for example, nine of the 32 councils have opted to raise revenue by hiking charges.

Keep parking charges in check

I rarely drive into town as it’s usually easier and less stressful to take the train. But when I do drive, I don’t appreciate being treated as a convenient cash cow by my council.

Motorists already pay for the roads more than twice over in car tax and fuel tax, so ‘stealth taxes’ like parking charges need to be recognised as such.

I wonder how many of those London councils actually consulted their residents (and voters) about higher charges?

If the war on the motorist is truly over, we need some new guidelines to keep parking charges in check. ‘Freedom’ and ‘small government’ do not mean the right to bleed motorists dry.

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It is an income – pure and simple. The Government is cutting the income of Councils. It is a no brainer. My Local council has a cut of £35 MILLION imposed annually – but is expected to continue to maintain the SAME level of services. And you expect them to CUT parking fees – rubbish.

My local council is the most deprived in London by any set of figures

keith says:
11 February 2011

This is a continuing stupidity, All the out of town parking is free and people go there rather than have a high cost town shopping experience. There are now so many shops that have closed in towns and high streets that the loss of business rates is a significant negative. On line sales are increasing fast.

All we do as a county is support and encourage the big supermarkets which is not good for many reasons which I won’t list here. I will not pay high parking charges (locally over £7) for a shopping ‘experience’ but I would spend my money in a town boosting local business and employment if it was free.

Ask yourself why all the out of town/ retail parks offer free parking and why our streets and towns are becoming increasingly derelict and deserted.

Speak for yourself – My local Council Car Park is effectively full daily from 9am to 6 pm – At weekends I would have to queue outside to get in the Car Park at all. The Shopping Centre is also very crowded . As is the Supermarket and it’s Car Park.

My Local Council doubled the parking fee to £2 an hour in November due to expected cuts. If it were free – there wouldn’t be room to move – it’s bad enough now. .

They are now expected to continue to maintain the SAME level of services.in a very deprived area with an annual reduction of £35 MILLION imposed by the Condems. Can’t be done

Croydon Council has just raised charges by around 30%.

I understand that services have to be paid for, however they are killing local shops because people prefer to go to a free supermarked car park.

I have to park at meters to carry out home visits to my patients, I purchase around 30 parking tickets a week.

A further problem for me is that I don’t know for certain how long I will be parked, so I generally buy an hours parking even if I will likely be 30 minutes. A few weeks back a patient had more serious problems than I anticipated and I was 6 minutes late back to my car to find I had been booked & that cost me £30.

I don’t feel that the cost of parking is an issue, most people are prepared to pay for a parking space in the center of town, otherwise they have other options including public transport or parking further out and walking a bit more. What I do object to, is the lack of council machines that don’t give change. If it’s £1.20 for an hour and I only have £2 I have to pay that to get the ticket, the local shops to any of these machines always refuse to give change as they need it to run there business not help out the council and the fact that you have over paid for your hour parking doesn’t stop the ticket inspectors from slapping on a ticket when you have come back 5 minutes late.

Chris says:
18 February 2011

it would have been great if you had come down to Brighton. Not only do we have the UKs most expensive public transport, our parking fees are definitely number 1 on your list. On street parking is £2.50 for half an hour. The car park is £1 per 15 minutes, so on your guid £4 for the hour and £16 for 4 hours. Interestingly I picked someone up from Heathrow terminal 5 this week and 2 hours was £4! Surely, for the wrog reasons, we are record breakers?

Why is it that Sittingbourne council have upped there car park prices so much when there isn’t hardly anything there there isn’t any choice in shops keep opening coffee shops and hairdressers and what has happened to the rejuvenated town hope not another back hander