Video Killed the Radio Star

…. and excessive council parking fees have killed the High St.

Pay & Display machines have to been the worst invention EVER. Not only do they rob you blind but they are the most unjust way of charging. I even prefer a pay as you leave car park before a pay and display. You want to stay for an hour but you’re not sure so you pay for two hours just to be on the safe side, finally you come back at 58 minutes. So the local council has just robbed an hour from you or how about it cost 80p an hour and you only have a pound coin.

But it’s not only the machine, it’s the whole shortsighted vision of Revenue Generation. Parking fees admittedly generate revenues for the local council and in this period of cost cutting the motorist is the ideal person to hit again. The motorist NEVER says anything (petrol increase, road tax, parking fees, speeding cameras…). The problem with this, is the double impact it is having on our town centres who are already under fierce competition from out of town shopping, the internet and retail parks.

Today was prime example for me and it has happened on numerous occasions. I arrived in town at 3pm (shops close between 4 and 5 pm) but the minimum parking charge is 3 hours for £4. So I’ve been overcharged already nevertheless what this did mean was that I couldn’t then afford to go into a shop for a coffee and cake because the excessive parking fee had taken my money.

In conclusion the council gained £4 as the car park doesn’t take much upkeep and the machines probably don’t neither.
The independant coffee shop lost out because they cannot afford to be in the retail parks with free parking so those spots are reserved for Costa and Starbucks (who don’t pay enough tax already). In turn the shop will end up closing and the council will loose out on business rates. It will probably have an impact on the other shops who might close too. Those people who worked there will be unemployed and in turn will claim benefits such as council tax benefit. In the long term end though the council will loose revenue from the parking that they keep hiking up, they loose revenue from business rates and they increase costs as they have people who don’t pay council tax.

On top of that,  we’ll have empty town centres with the potential risk of increase crime of all kinds and enormous retail parks on the outside whilst crossing our fingers that the big corporate business that currently occupy the space don’t go bust leaving us with big empty retail space which is the case today with ex Staples shops and that the price of petrol doesn’t increase to £2 a litre

Do you agree?
Do we really only want shopping centres everywhere ?
Isn’t it nice to do a bit of shopping, meet up with friends and have a coffee ?

I’d love to hear your views