Futures Forum: Parking in East Devon: where and how much...
The District Council's own "Car Park Management review – key decision" was presented to the Overview & Scrutiny Cttee and then its Cabinet last month.
The officers presenting it claimed that people were not interested in the price paid for parking, but were only concerned about its availability:
Monitoring car park use seemed to indicate that visitors’ choice of where to park was based on their preferred location rather than price. Overall the offers did not significantly alter users’ behaviour.
The the Association of East Devon Chambers of Commerce see things rather differently:
Visitors were very sensitive to car parking charges and that the increase 4 years ago had resulted in a significant fall in car park usage – this had impacted on visitor numbers to the high street.
A working party has been set up to look into parking matters:
Commerce chiefs happy with progress
Free parking ‘seems impossible’ - EDDC - News - Sidmouth Herald
The District Council agreed to the 'Small Business Saturday' discounted parking offer
Futures Forum: "Discount parking for Small Business Saturday"
and has now extended this offer:
Council’s ‘£2 all day’ parking scheme to run till ChristmasCouncil bosses have announced a discounted week of parking in the run-up to Christmas in a bid to boost town centre businesses.
Council’s ‘£2 all day’ parking scheme to run till Christmas - News - Exmouth Journal
Of course, parking at any supermarket car-park is free:
Would you pay to park at your local supermarket?
Business leaders today said supermarkets should be forced to pay a parking levy to help ailing town centre shops survive.
They say the move is the only way to create a level playing field between edge-of-town retail centres – often owned by local councils – which can offer free parking, and high streets where local authorities charge a fee.
While accepting town hall chiefs need parking revenue to help pay for services so cannot scrap them, traders say the system needs to be fairer.Would you pay to park at your local supermarket? - Blackpool Gazette
Parking should be free
An open question to anyone about having to pay for parking on the road. Why do we have to a pay?
We already pay road tax for the upkeep of roads, even though only a small proportion of it is actually spent on the roads and other transport infrastructure. So why are drivers having to pay another “tax” on top for the privilege of parking on the road.
Paying for parking on private land (eg. NCP) or in public car parks is different. There the charges help to pay for the upkeep of the site and the wages of the parking attendants.
But paying to park on the road? It just does not make sense. The only reason it exists is so that a council can collect money. A tax in effect.
It can’t be to dissuade people from parking otherwise it would be a fine. It can’t be to ensure that drivers only park for as long as they need to and no longer. That would happen only if the person didn’t need to use their car anymore. The whole point about parking on the road is that the person has come to carry out a time limited task of some sort – shopping, visiting the dentist, going to the bank, etc.
Does paying provide any benefit? Does it mean more people can park? Nope, there are only so many parking places. Does it allow the council to use the money to improve the local environment (better roads, better lighting, better signs, etc.)? Nope, it only goes to pay for parking attendants to go around slapping parking fines on drivers.
So why do we have to pay? Because the state tell us we have to pay and invents laws to fine us when we don’t – that why. Can we get the state to change their mind? Nope, because democracy doesn’t work. We don’t vote for our elected officials on the basis of small issues such as this. We vote on tribal lines. So we are effectively stuck with this stupid situation until the revolution comes. Or until an elected official gets off their arse and realises that they should be doing stuff for their community, not for their own political ends.
Removing parking charges would be a huge benefit to local communities. It would increase the footfall in local markets/shops because people would not have to pay £1 minimum (for example) just to spend 5 mins popping into a shop. An increase in business’ profits would mean that more businesses would be attracted to the area, meaning more employment, meaning more stuff to buy and generally making the area more attractive. So parking on the road should be free and parking in public car parks should be free for an initial short period (15 mins) of time.
Going off at a tangent, but that’s one reason why supermarkets are so attractive – they have free parking. How many of you go to a supermarket to buy a few items rather than go to their local market to do the same? Think about why you do it. Do you do it because you can drive and park for free or because the prices are cheaper in the supermarket? Do you still do it when the market is closer?
In my local town, there are currently two supermarkets and a good local market. There are plans to open up two new supermarkets and obviously the traders in the local market are up in arms about it with petitions being filled in. The supermarkets counter by saying that customers can use their car parks for free and do some shopping in the supermarket and some shopping in the local market. A tacit acknowledgement that free parking is one of the main reasons why people use supermarkets. But how many customers will do some of their shopping in a supermarket and then pop to the butcher in the local market. None, because unless the butcher’s prices were very low compared to the supermarket there would be no reason to do so. So the supermarket wins and the local shopkeepers have to go out of business. Some would say this is just standard market driven competition. But is the competition fair? I don’t think so, and not just because of the supermarket’s immense buying power. The supermarkets can control what parking charges are for their shoppers and they make it free to encourage more shoppers to visit. Local shop keepers and markets don’t have the same control about the parking charges in their area so are at a disadvantage straight away.
Parking should be free | SadButMadLad's Blog
Bye-bye High Street - The destruction of communities and jobs
Most obviously independent food stores close because the 'under-one-roof' format of the superstore seems to offer more choice and makes shopping 'more convenient', as does free car-parking or free buses. Many have also mimicked the idea of independent deli-style food counters with expert salespeople. This, however, can no way replicate the sense of community created by the high street, nor the level, range and quality of employment.
Corporate Watch : WHAT'S WRONG WITH SUPERMARKETS? : 5 - Bye-bye High Street
And yet, recently, the District Council rejected a motion to levy supermarkets:
Futures Forum: District Council decides against the Local Retail Levy
Issues such as supermarkets having a gigantic advantage in that their customers can park for free, but customers of small shops generally have to pay to park.