Thursday, September 6, 2012

Someone gets it...

There's a report out detailing the fact that UK drivers spend £8 billion a year on parking charges. Which I suppose id fair enough, though it does go on to make the point that excessive parking charges are causing some town centres to die from lack of custom...
Britons are now spending nearly £8bn a year to park their cars with prices rising 12% last year.
The rising costs are deterring shoppers from visiting town centres, according to a survey by car insurance company
The most expensive parking is in Knightsbridge in central London, where motorists can be charged up to £36 for three hours.
The survey of 2,000 people found 69% intentionally avoided shopping areas with high parking prices.
As many as 65% said they would return to the high street if parking was more affordable, while 21% believe current parking services do not offer enough space.
A total of 60% of motorists spend between six and 20 minutes every trip searching for a parking space, with 30% confessing to not feeling safe in car parks.
Nearly a quarter (24%) have been involved in a car park argument, with 11% of the altercations boiling over into physical violence.
I've never been involved in any violence in Car parks, though I've often been a bit exasperated at the antics of people parking without care for others. But as this report suggests, I do avoid going places where I believe I'm being ripped off by whoever is charging me to park which means many town centres particularly the multistories. If I have to go into London, I'll take a train, it would possibly be cheaper to park, but there aren't many long term parks near where I have to go and I can't be arsed to constantly move the car every couple of hours. My local town centre is still fairly cheap to park in, so it gets my custom as and when I can be bothered to go shopping as I'm fast coming to the conclusion that the internet is my friend for a lot of goods and services anyway.
You'd think common sense would apply when trying to get people in to an area to shop in that you make it easy for them to get in and park and don't charge them too much to do so, after all that's part of the 'secret' of out of town shopping. But no, councils hive off their parking to private companies then watch in astonishment as these companies try to recoup their costs by ripping off the motorists and making said motorists look elsewhere.
Personally I think that the day of high street shopping is over, the councils and others priced themselves out of the market. Some areas will of course survive if they offer added value, but most retailers will opt for soulless out of town big name slots or start selling online.
But on this and so many other things politicians local and national get involved with, they only have themselves to blame.

3 annotations:

Curmudgeon said...

It never ceases to amaze me how councils bleat about the decline of the High Street at the same time as jacking up parking prices to extortionate levels.

Costly parking also affects town-centre employment, and it's often forgotten to what extent employment is a driver of high street footfall.

Barman said...

I used to live in Maidenhead.

All the car parks were free after 6pm.

Then the clever council introduced a flat charge after 6pm - two quid I think it was - with the instant result of the car parks being empty every evening and the streets clogged with parked cars.

Yet they still couldn't see how the ridiculous parking charges adversely affected footfall during the day...

James Higham said...

Our local town is like this - parking officers everywhere fining people. They work on the convenience factor but as there are other shopping centres around, methinks they're playing a dangerous game.

However, there was a bit of feedback about this. Shopkeepers couldn't afford council charges either so dropped away. Those places are still locked with no tenants and no revenue for council.

No one is learning any lesson from this.