Council urged to scrap car park rises after report

PUBLISHED: 08:45 10 January 2012 | UPDATED: 09:50 11 January 2012

The council is being urged to scrap the proposed fee rise

The council is being urged to scrap the proposed fee rise

Copyright Archant Ltd

THE council has been called on to scrap its proposed car park charge increases in Weston in a bid to help the town's high street shops.

With the recently published Mary Portas report advocating affordable town centre parking, town centre manager Steve Townsend believes North Somerset Council should scrap the changes in order to attract people to shop in the resort’s town centre shops.

The Government commissioned retail expert Ms Portas to compile the report on how to help town centres and businesses cope with the economic downturn.

Among her recommendations were encouraging affordable town centre car parking, having more markets featuring local producers and encouraging Business Improvement District (BID) models, such as the one proposed for Weston.

The council has announced proposals to raise charges in eight off-street car parks in Weston, but Mr Townsend believes the rise should be scrapped and charges decreased.

He said: “I know this is an important form of revenue for the council, but we should be creative about parking.

“We should decrease the parking charges, or perhaps have days where parking is free – that would be a big boost for the town centre shops.

“Last time the rates were increased only two objections were received – we are urging people to let the council know what they think.

“I’m also concerned that raising the charges will lead to more illegal parking, something which has a detrimental effect on shops in the town.”

His thoughts were echoed by Sovereign Shopping Centre manager Nick Cooke, who said he would be writing to the council to object to the rises.

He said: “We are deeply disappointed at the council’s decision to raise car parking charges again. If you go to out-of-town shopping centres such as Cribbs Causeway the car parking is free – this means the town centre is missing out on people who do not want to pay large amounts to park.

“The Sovereign Centre has reduced its all-day car parking fees from £10 to £5 recently – the Portas report strongly advocates free car parking and we would strongly urge the council to reconsider its proposal.”

If you want to let the council know what you think of the proposed charges, email tops@n-somerset.gov.uk by January 30.

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