MORE THAN 100 NEWPORT COMPANIES SUPPORT CAMPAIGN TO REDUCE PARKING PRICES – Island Echo
Tired businesses in the heart of the Island County town are backing a campaign to lower parking fees to help attract more buyers to Newport, boost employment and support businesses in these turbulent times for High Street.
The Newport Business Association (NBA) has been waging a long-standing campaign for fairer parking prices, as the costs are said to be higher than those in many other cities on the South Coast. For example, it is between 40 and 60% more expensive to park in Newport Town than in the West Quay car park in Central Southampton.
Today, more than 100 companies are making their voices heard by putting their name on the campaign with the stern warning that the new parking cost increases proposed for this year are simply untenable and in no way compatible with the sustainability of the county town.
The NBA is writing an open letter to councilors and MP Bob Seely, making it clear that businesses are being driven out of downtown and that this puts jobs at risk. The Association recognizes that downtown Newport is in dire straits and is getting worse and that radical action is needed. It also recognizes that parking revenue is an essential part of local authority revenue and that an imaginative approach to parking can generate revenue for both the Isle of Wight Council and local Newport merchants.
John McLaughlin, President of the Newport Business Association, explains the new ideas that will help everyone:
âWe know that parking cars has a major influence on where people decide to go and spend time. We looked at examples of other cities in the UK that have taken a new approach to parking and found that it is bringing customers back to enjoying the city center.
The NBA’s proposal is to offer additional free on-street parking, for a limited time, as well as a free first hour in the main parking lots. It is also believed that all parking lots should be long lasting, arguing that this is something buyers are looking for. To get people to stay in the city center even longer, the NBA thinks the idea of ââa Â£ 5 daily rate should be tested.
The ideas are based on recent successful parking experiences from other UK cities. The results show that people often choose to stay longer than free parking time and therefore pay for extra time. It also brings people back to town who don’t usually visit.
Mark Horton of French Franks summed up the sentiments of many Newport traders:
âThe parking fees in Newport are not good value for the money. Charges are on average 50% higher than parking in central Southampton. We hear every day how these prices push businesses and shoppers out of the city center.
âWe all want to see a recovering and vibrant county town. This cannot be achieved through current pricing levels or proposed future increases for downtown parking. “
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Advisors are asked to consider a 4 month trial this fall.