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"

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 1075.

    As ever when the mention of "councils" comes up the "debate" centres on utterly ignorant comments from morons who are too LAZY to bother getting their facts RIGHT......

    .....equivalent jobs in the private sector pay MORE than Councils do AND give HIGHER pensions......

    ...the typical Chief Exec on a £100M a year Council gets 6 figures...

    ....in a company that salary is 7 figures....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1074.

    In Plymouth, the so-called east end improvement system was deliberately designed to make it harder to drive cars into and out of the city. We also have the highest density of traffic lights of any UK city, and vast numbers of tyre-damaging road humps, as well as camera vans recording even temporary stopping, and bus lane markings that are dangerous. No wonder parts of the city centre are dying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1073.

    Roads are paid for out of general taxation.

    Car owners are thus getting a subsidy.
    Their paltry contribution barely pays for the administration costs involved in their collection.

    Why are we subsidising something that is strangling us?

    Car owners should pay the total costs of using their cars.
    Perhaps then we would have empty roads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1072.

    1071. glen

    '... my guess is your council is the same'

    As the 'facts' you quote about your council are guesswork I see no reason why your guess about my council should be any better informed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1071.

    @1046.tcbs2 ..... My council is over staffed and those staff are overpaid, half of my council tax goes on paying staff PENSION, they also have a heavily subsidised staff canteen, they can make cuts that have little effect on services.....my guess is your council is the same

  • rate this

    Comment number 1070.

    As driving tuition and car insurance become ever more unaffordable, more and more people are being priced out of vehicle ownership. I don't drive for medical reasons and get fed up of the assumption that everyone has access to a car. Here in Leeds approximately 1/3 of the population don't, yet we have the highest bus fares outside London. Not that the powers that be care about 'transport poverty'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1069.

    This report must be about Leeds, the most car-hostile council I've encountered.
    Leeds loses millions of pounds worth of business because of this strange anti-commerce attitude.
    Now it's built a new Arena and shopping centre, with another planned, all without adequate parking, or parking at silly rates.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1068.

    @1039. Tootle46
    In Switzerland, there is a "Blue Zone" system in towns. You have 1 1/2 hours free parking with a disc on the dashboard.
    This is what small towns like Steyning and Henfield do. Disc available from several local shops. Between 2 and 4 hours free parking. Nice old fashioned stores and several good pubs. Where do we go out for lunch? Not Brighton EVER!

  • Comment number 1067.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1066.

    Councils are not anti-car - they are anti-social - people hating psychopaths..

  • rate this

    Comment number 1065.

    @ 1060.Phil

    As I said Phil, motorists tend to drive too fast for the prevailing conditions; and I would add to that; both here and overseas ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1064.

    1049. andy
    Having traveled around the uk, I can state that Labour councils are the worst..
    Have you tried Tory controlled Westminster? Up to £4.40 an hour... according to Westminster City Council's own website.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1063.

    They pedestrianised Doncaster town centre several years ago and it's a much more attractive place to be now. Providing plentiful parking at a reasonable price is important but lets not encourage motorists back into the hearts of the towns. If they have to walk a mile from their cars to the shops it's not that far and if the town centre is attractive enough it can be a nice day out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1062.

    #1034 is right. I know Waltham Forest's bonkers visitor parking ticket policy very well. There's no all-day ticket so you can't visit a friend and both take the tube into town for a day. You have to stay indoors to 'top up' the hourly tickets during the day - no more than two at a time! The councillors voted for it, and we're almost trapped in the house. Why do we stand for it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1061.

    ...How much do pay for your road?, Do you repair it?, Do you clean it? Do you decide where it goes? Do you restrict who can use it? and................................if its outside your house can anyone park there without let or reason and stop you getting into your drive/garage ( if you have one)?"
    Answer is YES .... it's a civil not legal matter!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1060.

    "motorists tend to drive too fast for the prevailing conditions"

    A few do, the vast majority don't. As you can tell by the very few accidents which have anything at all to do with excessive speed that we have in the UK when compared to many other countries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1059.

    Pickles can't have it both ways. He starves councils of cash making them even more reliant on parking charges. They're told to reduce town centre congestion. He insisted planning guidance be reduced from 1700 pages to 70. Now he can't write new guidance fast enough. Clueless

    The answer. Give councils more money so they can reduce parking charges and give them cash to build underground car parks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1058.

    1049 andy

    To be fair, "Tory Uckfield" probably doesn't have to spend the same amount as Sutton or Ipswich in meeting its social care obligations. I wouldn't be surprised if the council tax was lower too, eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1057.

    The real problem is traffic wardens are paid commission on the number of contraventions. Take this commission out and traffic wardens would immediately become less overzealous at issuing parking tickets. Motorists can be very selfish, so cannot be trusted to behave by parking sensibly. So we still need traffic wardens. Imagine the mayhem in our towns if no traffic wardens were on patrol. LOL.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1056.

    The same Eric Pickles that allowed permission to build a supermarket on Margate's seafront after the disaster that is Westwood Cross shopping complex destroyed the town centre. You can't make it up. And I don't care what people want, it's time a bit of social engineering made the future better for our descendants. Because you buy a car doesn't give you the right to lord it over those that don't.


Page 14 of 67


More Politics stories



  • How ebola spread graphicPatient zero

    How one boy’s death triggered Ebola outbreak

  • Passport control at airportNews quiz

    How much do you know about migration?

  • Phillip Hughes playing cricket for Australia in September 2014Brain trauma

    How is the brain injured and protected from injury?

  • Passengers pushing planeHeave!

    How many people does it take to push a plane?

  • Complainant'Like being in hell'

    The story of one victim of paedophile care home boss

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.