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Give our high streets a fighting chance

Yesterday Communities secretary Eric Pickles launched a consultation into “aggressive parking policies” - but more must be done if high streets are to be saved argues Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard.

The answer to the parking problem in town centres cannot simply be remedied by turning a blind eye to parking on double yellow lines.

On-street parking spaces are limited, and only a small proportion of the overall parking provision in town centres, and a lack of enforcement patrolling infringements could do more harm than good- causing congestion for shoppers who need to navigate congested streets, and issues for retailers loading from suppliers.

The critical need is to create an even playing field between town centres and out of town facilities. This could be achieved by placing a rating levy on parking in out of town spaces, so that there is no greater benefit for the consumer to visit out of town than the high street.

Rather than play around at the edges, it would be far more prudent to explore this  fully now, and give our high streets a fighting chance.

Readers' comments (1)

  • How would a rate levy work? If councils add parking fees to out of town centres, it will simply drive more shoppers to the internet and no benefit to the high street whatsoever...

    Simple solutions are to drive business to high streets by creating 2-3 days a week when there are nil or low, flat rate charges. Funnily enough, successful elsewhere in Europe!

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