Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A classic fudge worthy of the finest confectioners

The long awaited review into car parking charges in the East Riding has been published. You may guess from the title of this post I am far from impressed.

Traders in Beverley have been complaining high parking charges are damaging their businesses. If you want to park in Saturday Market, the minimum fee is 80p which gives you 30 minutes. So if you just want to go to the bank and then get on your way, you have to pay 80p, even though you may only need to be in the parking space for 10 minutes.

If you have ever tried parking in Tesco on a Saturday morning, you will know you have to get there before 9.00 am, otherwise you will find yourself driving around the car park desperately looking for a space. The reason for this is you can park free for 3 hours at Tesco. Park in one of the council run car parks for 3 hours and you will be charged £3.

So what has the review panel done to help those who trade in Beverley? Virtually nothing. The proposals are for a reduction in charges in Butcher Row and North Bar Within. It will hardly make a difference.

Moving on from Beverley, car parks in places like Anlaby and Cottingham will not see any charges introduced until at least 2012. The official reason is because of the recession. I’m sure the impending council elections next year had no bearing on this decision!

Car parking will always be a thorny issue. No-one wants to pay, and the last thing we want to see is parking problems developing in side roads causing residents problems, but surely with some imagination the members of the review panel could have thought up something better.

If you allow free parking all day, there is every chance many people will stay there all day. If you give free parking for a set period, this will encourage shoppers to go about their business, move on, and free up a space for others.

Another way is to introduce a nominal charge of, for example, 20p an hour to cover the costs of parking machines and attendants. This would also help free up spaces so others can use them.

The review panel has failed to make important decisions. We know East Riding of Yorkshire Council will introduce charges in all car parks, but not until 2012 at the earliest, but I can imagine we will have yet another round of arguments then, no doubt wasting more taxpayers’ money in the process. These councillors were charged with making recommendations and used up council resources in roadshows, issuing and processing questionnaires, and endless meetings. The result is hardly anything has changed this side of 2012. A poor show all round.

UPDATE: I gave my views on air to Peter Levy on BBC Radio Humberside on Friday 26 February. It is available on iPlayer until Thursday 4 March. Click here to listen. It is 50 minutes 45 seconds in.

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