Increased car park fees could drive away visitors

Wharf Road car park low resTraders fear that recent increases in fees to use the Wharf Road car park in Biddulph could deter visitors to the town and have a detrimental effect on the already ailing high street.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council increased the charges at the Wharf Road car park by up to 50% with effect from 1st April, which means that parking for up to 2 hours will cost 60p (up from 40p), up to 3 hours will cost 80p (up from 60p) and up to 10 hours will cost £1,60 (up from £1.40).

Critics fear that the increase could put visitors off.  A Government report has also warned against using car parking as a way to raise revenue and Ministers have warned local politicians to put motorist first, “We’ve been clear councils shouldn’t use parking as a cash cow, and many recognise the benefits that reduced or free parking has on encouraging footfall on the High Street. Although councils often plead that they are short of cash, at the same time they need to be sensitive to the fact that people who are parking their cars are residents and council tax payers,” said a government spokesman.

Under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, charges for parking are not limited but they must be based solely on the need to manage parking. They must not be set to provide a source of revenue for other activities.

Council leader Sybil Ralphs has defended the parking fee rises. She said: “We are one of the cheapest towns in North Staffordshire. The increases are not substantial.”

Speak Your Mind