Warning over parking charge rises

Cash-strapped councils should not increase parking charges as a method to raise revenue, a retail trade body report has warned.

The report - 21st Century High Streets: A new vision for our town centres - by British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that parking policy should be used to attract customers to the high street and not as a local council fund raiser.

According to the report, which offers key recommendations on parking and access, trade-killing hikes in parking charges should be avoided.

The BRC said that a surge in parking charges might undermine, rather than support, high streets, which provide jobs and essential services and contribute significantly to growth in the private sector.

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation, British Retail Consortium, said: "Parking and transport policy should be aimed at providing a service to customers and retailers, not exploited as a local authority fund raiser.

"Jacking-up parking charges looks like an easy option for cash-strapped councils but they should not be ignoring the wider impact on their communities and economies of the damage higher charges causes to town centres."

Locations like Burnley, Nottingham, Shrewsbury and Cornwall have been either introducing or considering substantial parking-charge rises, according to the Federation of Private Businesses.

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