Amnesty parking! Councils have ordered the fee waived all summer to save UK town centers



He argues that offering short periods of free parking in municipality-owned parking lots will help bring shoppers, visitors and tourists back to city centers and improve the fortunes of shops, cafes and restaurants.

Mr Jenrick believes that a free period as short as 10 minutes could strike the right balance between encouraging buyers and protecting the council’s revenue.

Its promotion of free parking precedes the publication of a new parking code of practice this fall. A new enforcement framework is designed to “reduce unfair tickets” and “tackle cowboy parking businesses” with a new, streamlined appeals process.

The government says it wants to give drivers the assurance that when they get to town they will not be “unfairly penalized by dishonest operators.”

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This summer many of us will be gathering with family and friends for a cup of coffee, exploring the local towns or going out for the evening at our favorite restaurant. To facilitate this and support city centers after a difficult year, I call on municipalities to reduce parking fees during the summer holidays.

“Too often our local independent shops, restaurants and cafes are hampered by expensive parking fees that deter people from traveling to town. It would be an important gesture of support as we work to better rebuild and support our local businesses. “

Darren Rodwell, the Local Government Association transport spokesperson, has warned that if parking fees on main streets are too low, spaces will be filled with commuters, hurting local traders.

He said: “During the pandemic, many councils have suspended parking fees in council-run parking lots and for street parking and waived all fines on appeal for critical workers. With traffic levels almost back to pre-pandemic levels and stays more popular than ever, boards should try to ensure that there are spaces available for everyone at all times of the day and maintain traffic, and unsafe parking is addressed.

“With an increase of 10 million cars on the road over the past 20 years, it has become increasingly difficult for boards. If the fees are too low, spaces on main streets can be occupied by commuters, preventing shoppers from parking and negatively impacting local businesses.

John Longworth, Chairman of the Independent Business Network, said: “There is no doubt that parking fees have been a major contributor to the decline of our downtowns and main streets. A temporary reduction or elimination of charges would be welcome, but a long-term solution is needed.

“Of course, the loss of income will have to be addressed either through cuts or higher taxes elsewhere. A holistic approach is important if it doesn’t have to be just a gimmick. “


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