Could Free Parking Save The British High Street?

Tue 25th Dec 2018

Car drivers in the UK could be given some financial reprieve if a plan to save the UK high street gets the green light.

Government minister Jake Berry is campaigning to save the town centres of the UK, in the face of strong competition from online orders and out-of-town shopping centres. Mr Berry believes that by bringing free parking to our town centres it will encourage shoppers to return to areas which are struggling to drive custom.

“What we need is a major re-imagining of town centre space to support retail,” Berry said

“Parking is another issue that is locally determined, but what about free parking for a certain period of time. If local authorities want to bring people back, give shoppers free parking on the high street so retailers can compete with shopping centres.

“It has been tried in a number of places. Where I have seen it succeed, the free parking lasts for two hours or so, and it means new people keep coming back with fresh money in their pockets.”

Charges for parking fees, permits and fines made England’s councils are surplus of £819million last year, and the Local Government Association says the money is ploughed back into local transport and maintaining car parks.

With a £675million Future High Streets Fund announced in the last Budget, Mr Berry is urging local councils to make a claim for the funds to help revitalise town centres.