Ditch 'anti-car dogma' and boost parking, councils told

 
Traffic warden in London Mr Pickles criticised "over-zealous" parking wardens for "inflicting real damage on local economies"

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Councils in England should provide more parking spaces in town centres and cut down on speed humps, the secretary of state for communities has said.

New planning guidance will also say councils should ensure parking charges do not "undermine" local economies.

"Draconian" parking policies and "over-zealous traffic wardens" had driven motorists into internet retailers and out-of-town stores, Eric Pickles said.

Councils said such intervention made it harder for them to meet local needs.

The guidance, which is due to be published this week, says: "The quality of parking in town centres is important; it should be convenient, safe and secure.

"Parking charges should be appropriate and not undermine the vitality of town centres and local shops, and parking enforcement should be proportionate."

It urges councils to ensure that street furniture including lighting, railings, litter bins, paving and fountains are "well designed and sensitively placed".

"Unnecessary clutter and physical constraints such as parking bollards and road humps should be avoided," it adds.

'Economic damage'

"Draconian Town Hall parking policies and street clutter can make driving into town centres unnecessarily stressful and actually create more congestion because of lack of places to park," Mr Pickles said.

Start Quote

Creating more spaces in town and city centres where there is no room for them is simply not the way to draw more shoppers”

End Quote Local Government Association

"Anti-car measures are driving motorists into the arms of internet retailers and out of town superstores, taking their custom with them.

"Over-zealous parking wardens have inflicted real damage on local economies and given many towns and councils a bad name.

"Town Halls need to ditch their anti-car dogma. Making it easier to park will help support local shops, local jobs and tourism."

But a spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said: "Councils work hard to try and boost trade and keep High Streets vibrant through parking incentives such as free short-stay, cheaper evenings and free Sundays.

"Creating more spaces in town and city centres where there is no room for them is simply not the way to draw more shoppers to the High Street.

"Parking measures help avoid congestion in our high streets.

"In fact, the government's own figures show charges in England are falling in real terms while councils invest any revenue back into transport services like filling potholes and road improvement projects.

"The more government continues to intervene in this way, the less flexibility local authorities have to react to the individual needs of local shoppers, residents and traders and support local businesses and High Streets in their area."

The government says the new guidance is part of an online guide that replaces 7,000 pages of previous "planning practice guidance" documents, and also part of a wider initiative to support parking and local shoppers.

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 735.

    Does Eric get on his bike? It might be good for him!

    I spent a lot of time in Nottingham when my father was in hospital and found the buses there (where I think the council is more involved than many places) brilliant. I booked my bus ticket with my train tickets.I've never owned a car.

    Public transport can be unattractive, expensive and unreliable; governments have to act on this.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 734.

    English town centres are dead and buried as regards retail. On line is the present and the future with out of town supermarkets and superstores for food and some other product requirements where you need to see and check the item first hand.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 733.

    The root of this problem, like many others, is that the area of land is finite but the number of people living in our large cities is growing at a totally unsustainable level, hence the inevitable deterioration in our quality of life - housing, schools, health and social services, roads, public transport, green space. Without tighter controls on immigration, things can only get much worse.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 732.

    Cars are polluting, dangerous when driven by inconsiderate drivers, and stop people interacting. Walking and cycling can reduce obesity levels and increase social interaction. People shop, not cars. There is home delivery, pick up by car for bulky item and bikes make good shopping trolleys for everyday items. Yobbish behaviour is far more likely late in the day. All posts are pro car, why?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 731.

    @696.The Cheshire Cat

    Funny how speeding is considered "bad driving".

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 730.

    I got a parking penalty in Brighton a while back, because my ticket had blown off the dashboard. After an amount of research on my part and an error on theirs, the charge was finally cancelled. But they were deceitful in their rejection of my initial appeal and pretty much said that, even though I had bought a valid ticket, I was lying. I've no plans to go back there ever again.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 729.

    The fight back against looney councils begins. Parking charges in Brighton are HUGE, putting off locals & visitors, destroying local businesses, a Green council obsessed with bus lanes and penalising motorists. Parking charges 7 days a week, even London has free parking at weekends. The city is being destroyed, Brighton needs wealth generation to sustain it, not an obsessive one issue council....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 728.

    The problem is, if you stop being "anti-car" you end up being anti-pedestrian, i.e. anti-human.

    I drive, but many of my fellow drivers seem to have forgotten that a car generally has less right to be in any given place, than a pedestrian e.g. in a supermarket car park, forecourt, pavement-crossing access, on a zebra crossing and so on.

    Until the driving public is re-educated, play on large.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 727.

    Our town centres are already dangerous enough without petrol heads taking what they see on Top Gear into our city centres & threatening the pedestrians who actually do the buying in towns, not car drivers....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 726.

    699 Cont..
    Now MR Pickles let me explain...
    Without shops to go to;
    Without money to spend;
    shoppers will not be spending as much cash as they were doing.

    Spending less will mean less shops can survive the high rates & taxes.
    Less shops mean less jobs and its a declining CIRCUS.

    Reduce the VAT and give people some room to breathe.
    Your peers have caused this....and, Conservatives, the 20% VAT

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 725.

    @713 "On a day when there is an article on sex with robots we are only allowed to comment on car parking. It's so unfair!"

    Maybe if people adopted car-sharing and drove into towns with a sex robot as a passenger that might help the situation?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 724.

    Remember this:

    'Six months after traffic wardens were withdrawn from the seaside town of Aberystwyth, residents are complaining that motorists are causing traffic chaos by parking where they want.' (BBC News website December 2011).

    An admin error meant no traffic wardens ... local people celebrated ... for while.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 723.

    #698
    Maybe central government should practice what it preaches
    ---------
    You mean small government ?
    Fat chance.

    As someone else pointed out , local shops do not have a level playing field when corporate monsters like Amazon pull huge tax scams.UK needs to help it's businesses.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 722.

    The High St,as we once knew it, is long dead,or at best hanging on by it's fingertips. Nowhere to park,or exhorbitant charges,plus out of Town/City stores,etc.,with free parking,have seen to that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 721.

    Town centres are finished as primary shopping destinations. Even the most pro-parking council cannot compete with parking facilities in retail parks. Time to reinvent them as work and social destinations only.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 720.

    I've got it! All the cyclists in town and city centres should be obliged to provide bus and taxi services to the public, and when towns are quiet they can get their trailers and backpacks on and deliver the products to the shops!

    Then, the councils will not have ANY income form city centre parking, the big retail parks will go out of business and city centres will rule as we wont have cars! :)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 719.

    The real problem is council funding.High streets are going to die.Get used to it we shop on line now. Even food.All business rates have to be scrapped.Also company profit tax. Replace both with a turn over tax.All then pay equally, regardless of space needed, or off shoring profits. Likewise council tax, grossly unfair, scrap it, raise the same funds via normal general taxation. Cheap simple fair.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 718.

    50.meadow55

    "City and town centres were never built for cars".

    Really? Most of the towns I've been in, the buildings sprung up around a main arterial road - that's what kept the trade in the shops there alive.

    Granted, some of the older cities were built before the invention of the car - but there was still a main track for horse and carriage.

    Vehicular traffic keeps the town alive.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 717.

    I regularly park in a spot in the city centre, which happens to be free of all regulation - yes, one or two such places DO exist!

    So far this year wardens have placed no fewer than FIVE PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) on the car, all alleging the same offence, vis: failing to display a valid Pay & Display ticket.

    Four have been cancelled, and I'm waiting for the last to be.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 716.

    My town is dead and now the traffic wardens have nothing to do.

 

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