New parking reform proposals to support local shops and high streets

Published on Friday, 27 September 2013 11:06
Written by Sinead Fynes Black

New government measures to assist small shops and help with the cost of living.

Government ministers today (27 September 2013) announced a series of proposals for consultation to reform parking rules to help with the cost of living and support local shops.

Independent experts have warned that aggressive parking policies are harming local high streets and local shops. Mary Portas' independent review on high street policy for the government advised that town centre car parking is "significantly expensive" and inconvenient. Local authority revenue from parking in England rose from £608 million in 1997 to £1.3 billion by 2010. Nine million parking fines are now issued every year by local authorities in England. There has been a big increase in the use of CCTV for on-street parking enforcement following legislation in 2004.

The government has already scrapped previous Whitehall planning policy that encouraged councils to hike car parking charges, and removed Whitehall restrictions which restricted the provision of off-street parking spaces.

Today, Cabinet ministers, Eric Pickles and Patrick McLoughlin, announced that the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport will in due course publish details of further reforms, including:

  • stopping CCTV being used for on-street parking enforcement
  • new open data on parking to allow the public to 'go compare'

There will also be proposals for consultation on:

  • updating parking enforcement guidance to support local shops
  • tackling wrongly-issued fines
  • stopping unacceptable parking fine collection practices
  • reviewing unnecessary yellow lines and the scope for residents' reviews
  • reviewing the grace period for parking offences
  • clamping down on anti-social driving and encouraging social responsibility
  • spreading best practice on supporting town centres and tackling illegal parking
  • analysis of the impact of different transport policies on town centre vitality

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:

"Excessive parking charges and unfair parking fines push up the cost of living, and undermine local high streets and shopping parades. We want to rein over-zealous parking enforcement, so it focuses on supporting high streets and motorists, not raising money. Parking spy cars are just 1 example of this and a step too far. Public confidence is strengthened in CCTV if it is used to tackle crime, not to raise money for council coffers."

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said:

"Previously, ill thought-out policies have led to an increase in congestion and parking problems on our streets. By making sensible changes such as providing more parking spaces for local shoppers we can help ease traffic flow whilst supporting our vibrant high streets. Arbitrary parking rules force shoppers online or to out of town stores, causing lasting damage to local firms and small shops."

Source: DCLG & DFT

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