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

    Comment number 1335.

    @1334. ValleyBoyGalactico -- Nice to be noticed, but really I have never noted anything but pure common sense coming out of Pickles -- his only drawback being that his party is useless at following his lead. His girth should be no more of an issue than his skin colour. Councils have a lot to answer for. Cheers

  • rate this

    Comment number 1334.

    Faith Misplaced, there are many words I would use to describe Eric Pickles and a Hero would not be one of them. Lardar8e ninkempoop more like

  • rate this

    Comment number 1333.

    Speed bumps cause deaths due to ambulance delays: http://www.bromleytransport.org.uk/Ambulance_delays.htm

  • rate this

    Comment number 1332.

    Dan #1063 " 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."

    But not if it's raining, accompanied by young children and trying to carry shopping.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1331.

    Mr Pickles, you are a hero.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1330.

    Bill of rights 1689 says you do not need to pay fine as it can be classed as a Bribe until you are found guilty of the crime...

    Just goes to show its about money and not about parking.
    So who are the real criminals?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1329.

    Recently had a survey from local council asking what frontline services should reduce in order to maintain current council tax? No mention of inflated salaries or pension deficits funded by levies. "Ordinaryblokesays" has got to get with the real world where private pension schemes are not underwritten by the taxpayer. Incidentally just changed my front anti-roll bar drop links owing road humps!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1328.

    While they're at it the police could also stop being so anti car as well

  • rate this

    Comment number 1327.

    @1059. Ordinaryblokesays
    "The answer. Give councils more money so they can reduce parking charges and give them cash to build underground car parks."

    Judging by the size of your (negative) rating you have hit the nail on the head. Or get them to build Heathrow-like pod networks to ferry shoppers into town. And like Heathrow, keep it free.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1326.

    I received a parking ticket in central London parked in a bay specifically marked as allowing unloading for up to 40 mins. I got a ticket after a warden saw my car unattended for 6 minutes. I was dropping heavy musical equipment into a nearby venue and could not leave my car unlocked and unattended. I was playing a free show for the benefit of the community. My appeal failed. £140 fine. Cheers

  • rate this

    Comment number 1325.

    Cambridge please note!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1324.

    Leicester City centre died a few years ago when out of town shopping at Fosse park arrived. It is a vastly improved space now since pedestrianisation of the city centre.
    Less cars in the City Centre, more cycle ways, and walkways, more trees instead of humps. Plant a tree in the middle of the road and make motorists drive around it.
    The traffic is the turn off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1323.

    Why do people use supermarkets? The choice is terrible, the quality dreadful and the prices high - why would anyone shop in them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1322.

    Wish there were more like you and James Dyson and JK Rowling....

  • rate this

    Comment number 1321.

    @1318. Simple. I'm 77 and it's a bit late for relocating. I wanted to 50 years ago but personal & family responsibilities prevented it. I do spend time abroad every year but pay all my taxes here without resorting to tax avoidance schemes. Moreover, I give £000's to charity every fiscal. I meet all my obligations to family, friends & society and am happy to do so. I've nothing to be ashamed about

  • rate this

    Comment number 1320.

    sorry typo!

    We immigrant parking attendants are being used by Local councils now and the flack we have to take...day to day.for the council draconian parking laws....

    Its not the fist time your country has used foreign Tax collectors because none of you wanted to do it!

    We African parking attendants need a voice!
    We have been used!

    Please don't be Racist to me BBC!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1319.

    @1314. I have sincere sympathy. Many people are horribly rude to those simply doing their jobs because they either don't like what they are enforcing through no fault of their own or regard them as a social inferiors. All work is honourable and it's only good manners to treat everyone politely & equally well. Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1318.

    1315 Schacht

    Firstly, if all those other countries are better, why do you live here?

    Secondly, it seems to me that people with multiple homes who go to other countries for treatment, when they could presumably have had treatment privately here or there and left the hard-pushed state resources for those in real need, don't give a great example to others. I wouldn't shout about it if I were you.

  • Comment number 1317.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1316.

    I recently visited Hull on business. I drove down a street and counted over 15 parking spaces available. 10 minutes later I drove back up the street to find a traffic warden sticking a fixed penalty notice to a car. Now I can understand ticketing some one if the owner leaves the car over the time permitted if all the spaces are taken but not when there are so many vacant.


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