Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, has called on councils to end the “over-zealous culture of parking enforcement” in a bid to help the high street. Speaking at the Conservative Spring Forum, Mr Pickles said that “officious” wardens issuing tickets to motorists who pop to the shops are damaging small businesses and hinted that the government is considering new rules to prevent the practice.
The minister said that current parking rules need to change and that Town Halls should create more off-street parking to ease the pressure on busy roads and put an end to “dodgy” contracts that include incentives for the issuing of fixed penalty notices.
He condemned the practice of; “Extending CCTV, not to catch criminals, but to catch you out the moment you park on a yellow line.
“A rigid state of orthodoxy of persecuting motorists out of their cars, with no concern about its effect in killing off small shops.
“I believe we need to give people the good grace to pop into a local corner shop for ten minutes to buy a newspaper or a loaf of bread without risking a £70 fine,” he said.
The proposals are likely to face opposition from local authorities who raise significant amounts of revenue from issuing parking tickets. This was estimated to be in the region of £1.27 billion in 2011.
In addition motorists are also forking-out increasing amounts for residents parking permits and metered parking. In London the average bill is around £109 but can be as high as £600.
Mr Pickles has previously pledged to expose this council “cash cow” and it is believed that he is now “very keen” to make it easier for motorists to park on the high street to encourage shoppers back to town centres.
Do you think this move will benefit town centres or does more need to be done to help high street tenants and landlords?
High Street Fund Remains Unspent