The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has briefed peers ahead of a debate in the House of Lords on a new Bill which would require local authorities to consult with community stakeholders before putting up parking charges in their area.
The Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill also contains provisions to make the process for reducing parking charges more streamlined by removing the automatic need for 21 days notice when councils reduce or suspend parking charges, with a view to enabling local authorities to use reduced parking charges or free parking around events as an incentive to consumers.
Data from the ACS 2016 Community Barometer report shows that reducing parking charges was seen as one of the top three priority areas for both retailers and consumers, while being the lowest priority area for councillors.
Polling of convenience store owners has also shown that 40% have been negatively impacted by the parking policies in force in the vicinity of their store.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Affordable and accessible parking in town centres and on high streets is essential to the viability and attractiveness of those areas to consumers.
“We welcome this Bill and hope that it will encourage local authorities to think carefully about ways that they can use parking charges positively to encourage more people to shop locally.”