Author Topic: Cardigan - The effect of damaging parking meters  (Read 9865 times)

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Offline Virgil

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Cardigan - The effect of damaging parking meters
« on: 16 July, 2015, 11:06:01 AM »
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11743186/Shoppers-flood-back-to-town-centre-after-vandals-smash-up-pay-and-display-machines.html

Text below for those of you who have reached your monthly limit of free DT articles. I apologise sincerely for the fact that it then quotes from the Daily Mail, there are some links in the article which I have put at the end of the text, although the articles they go to are getting a bit old now.
I do not advocate criminal damage to meters, although it would appear that Captain Rathbone (for the longer serving readers here) is clearly taking his holidays in the UK, and I have no particular grudge against the supermarket chains either, but it is nice to see independent shops given a fairer chance, and customers the choice via a level playing field. I wonder if an academic or economist might make a serious study of the damage that charging for parking rather than a reasonable system of free periods (say a few hours) causes a local economy.

Quote:
Shoppers in a small coastal town are flooding back to the high street after thieves smashed up the parking meters, allowing them to park for free. All four pay-and-display machines were vandalised in Cardigan's main car parks last month but the local council cannot afford to repair them. The delay, as council chiefs struggle to find the £22,500 needed for repairs, has delighted residents and visitors to the picturesque West Wales town of Cardigan.

Campaigners believe the situation could be replicated across the country to help encourage shoppers back to the high street. At a town council meeting this week, traders reportedly relayed how the destruction of the pay-and-display machines, which charged £1.20 an hour, had led to a turnaround in their fortunes.

Jane Roche, a cafe owner, said shoppers were taking advantage of the free parking to stay longer. "The town is much busier, with customers saying that it is really nice not to have to rush back to their cars," she said, according to the Daily Mail. Keith Davies, 64, who has run a butcher's shop since 1978, said business was better than it had been in years. "We've long campaigned for free parking, and while we don't condone the damage to the machines, the difference it's made is unbelievable," he added. "Instead of going out of town to Tesco or Aldi, people can stay in the centre for five or six hours without having to pay or worry about getting a ticket. They can go into shops then stop at a café or a restaurant without having to rush.

"I've seen trade go up by around 20 per cent but some businesses have seen an increase of 50 per cent, which is not only good for the traders but it helps make Cardigan a thriving place. "It sounds like the machines will be out until September which means summer visitors will benefit too. We understand the council needs revenue from them but hopefully they will agree to increase the time people can park for free.' Bakery owner Martin Radley, current chairman of Cardigan Traders, added: 'What we have now is a level playing field.

"People who have enjoyed free parking at supermarkets are finding they prefer going to small, independent shops which offer goods of a far better quality. People are staying longer and spending more. They feel more relaxed not having to worry about their cars. "It demonstrates what we've been saying for years: if you have lower parking fees, or even no fees, then people will come into town."

Councils have often been accused of "killing the high street" by overcharging for parking. But Ceredigion County Council said it was committed to getting the machines working as soon as possible.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council-spending/8888916/Car-parking-charges-And-on-the-seventh-day-they-drove-us-mad.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/countryside/9796835/Councils-killing-high-streets-by-over-charging-for-parking.html

Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #1 on: 17 July, 2015, 02:00:50 PM »
How can the BPA Ltd maintain that the cost of parking is not significantly high on the list of priorities of drivers to affect High St footfall? <Swearyangry> <Swearyangry> <Swearyangry> <Swearyangry> <Swearyangry>

And I wouldn't mind betting that any new ticket machines will swiftly receive the same treatment (not that I would condone it of course).
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Offline Web Admin

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Re: The effect of damaging parking meters in Cardigan/Ceredigion
« Reply #2 on: 17 July, 2015, 02:50:39 PM »
Surprise surprise! West Wales town where all the parking meters have been out of action for a month sees shopping boom

    All four ticket machines vandalised in Cardigan's main car parks last month
    Council struggling to find £22k repair bill and now running without meters
    Led to surge in visitors to town centre, with store owners' sales up by 50%
    Traders say situation has led to a 'level playing field' where shoppers are far more relaxed


Small traders have long blamed them for pushing shoppers away from local high streets to out-of-town superstores.

And their complaints about pay-and-display machines appear to have been borne out by the story of one coastal town.

After thieves smashed all four parking machines in Cardigan’s main car parks last month, custom in local stores soared by up to half.

Delighted shopkeepers will be welcoming more people through their doors as county council chiefs are struggling to find the £22,500 needed for repairs.


After thieves smashed all four parking machines in Cardigan’s main car parks last month, custom in local stores soared by up to half

The delay means locals and visitors will continue to enjoy free parking in the picturesque West Wales town which lists a Norman castle as one of its attractions.

Campaigners believe Cardigan’s experience could be replicated across the country to help counter the drop in the number of high street shops. The national total slumped by nearly 20,000 to just over 129,000 in only the last decade. This week at a meeting of Cardigan Town Council, traders queued up to recount how the destruction of the pay-and-display machines had led to the unexpected windfall.

Cafe owner Jane Roche said shoppers were taking advantage of the free parking to stay longer.

‘The town is much busier, with customers saying that it is really nice not to have to rush back to their cars,’ she said.

Keith Davies, 64, former chairman of Cardigan Traders who has run a butcher’s shop there since 1978, said business was better than it had been in years.

‘We’ve long campaigned for free parking, and while we don’t condone the damage to the machines, the difference it’s made is unbelievable,’ he added.

‘Instead of going out of town to Tesco or Aldi, people can stay in the centre for five or six hours without having to pay or worry about getting a ticket. They can go into shops then stop at a café or a restaurant without having to rush.

‘I’ve seen trade go up by around 20 per cent but some businesses have seen an increase of 50 per cent, which is not only good for the traders but it helps make Cardigan a thriving place.

‘It sounds like the machines will be out until September which means summer visitors will benefit too. We understand the council needs revenue from them but hopefully they will agree to increase the time people can park for free.’

Bakery owner Martin Radley, current chairman of Cardigan Traders, added: ‘What we have now is a level playing field.

‘People who have enjoyed free parking at supermarkets are finding they prefer going to small, independent shops which offer goods of a far better quality. People are staying longer and spending more. They feel more relaxed not having to worry about their cars.

‘It demonstrates what we’ve been saying for years: if you have lower parking fees, or even no fees, then people will come into town.’

The machines were charging £1.20 for an hour, rising to £2.20 for a maximum of three hours.

Ceredigion County Council said it may use an interim system and was committed to getting the machines working as soon as possible.

Cardigan had no traffic wardens for 12 months in 2011-12 after police stopped enforcement and before the council took over. But drivers argued over spaces and traders had loading bays blocked.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3163067/Surprise-surprise-North-Wales-town-parking-meters-action-month-sees-shopping-boom.html

Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #3 on: 18 July, 2015, 01:09:55 PM »
Can't see how BPA Ltd can continue with the line "there is only anecdotal evidence to support the contention that parking charges and fear of fines deters shoppers from going to their local high street".

An act of vandalism has proved beyond doubt the common sense conclusion we have always known but have been unable to prove.

And it now seems the government are taking it on board too. <Yes!> You know it's got the government's full attention when the Minister for High Streets (Marcus Jones) is giving quotes to the political editor of the Telegraph. <Yes!> <Yes!> <Yes!>

The other day I heard Trouser Fire tell a packed auditorium of bailiffs and council reps of the relief within the industry now that Eric Pickles and his team had gone (there were many murmered agreements with this statement), and that he had spoken to their replacements who seemed more receptive to new ideas.

It seems that TF may be right for a change. ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/society/11747831/Free-parking-in-town-centres-to-save-the-high-street.html

Free parking in town centres to save the high street

Shoppers in small town high streets should be allowed to park free, a minister has indicated after towns that scrapped fees saw shopping areas flourish



By Peter Dominiczak, Political Editor
10:00PM BST 17 Jul 2015

Shoppers in small-town high streets should be allowed to park free, a minister has indicated, as figures show that councils are raising more money than ever from motorists.

Marcus Jones, who was made high streets minister in David Cameron’s post-election reshuffle, suggested that small town centres could become “parking meter-free zones” in an effort to save shops from closure.

The Government is growing increasingly concerned that punitive parking costs and fines are deterring shoppers from using their local high streets.

 Small stores are going out of business as people increasingly shop online to avoid the threat of parking tickets, experts have warned.

Figures seen by The Telegraph disclose that councils in England and Wales are set to collect an additional £39million this year in parking revenues compared with last year, reaching a record total of £687?million.

Last year, local authorities took £648?million despite the Government telling them not to use parking charges and fines to raise revenue.

Cardigan council in Wales saw custom in local shops increase by up to 50 per cent after it allowed free parking when thieves destroyed the town’s four parking machines.

 Asked whether small towns should become “meter-free zones”, Mr Jones said: “You can look at examples around the country where that very situation is currently in place, and in those areas where they are thinking very carefully about how they attract more people on to their high street and into those smaller town centres.

“Those areas seem to be doing better and I think it’s really important that councils understand that and develop their policies to make sure that they are attracting people to come and shop and frequent the high street.”

He added: “Unfair parking fines push up the cost of living and undermine high streets. Instead, councils should be focusing their efforts on supporting our town centres and motorists, not by raising money through over-zealous parking enforcement.”

In March, the Government announced that motorists would be given a 10-minute “grace period” to avoid a fine when their parking tickets run out. However, Mr Jones made clear that the Conservatives intend to go further and ensure that local authorities stop using parking as a “cash cow”.

“We haven’t ruled anything out,” he said. “It is really important that local areas have the opportunity to consider any impacts on their high streets and town centres. Ultimately, we’re monitoring this very closely because we do take it very seriously.”

He made clear that councils penalising motorists unfairly were putting small shops at risk. “Where they are doing the right things, councils are really making a difference around the country to bring more foot fall on to the high street. But where they don’t do that, there will be consequences.”

Since February, every council should be publishing details of the income they get from parking, how they spend it and how they intend to use any profits.

“The law clearly states that parking fines should not be used as a way of generating revenue,” the Department for Communities and Local Government said.

Ministers have warned that any local authority found to be using parking fines as a way to make money could face reduced levels of government funding.

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P.s. there is a poll on the article that asks:

"Does free parking help town centres flourish? Yes/No".

Currently it is running at 96% Yes. <Yes!> <Yes!> <Yes!> <Yes!> <Yes!> <Yes!>
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Offline Web Admin

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Re: The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #4 on: 18 July, 2015, 04:03:53 PM »
Let shoppers park for free in ALL town centres to save the high street from the rise of online shopping, says government minister

    Marcus Jones, high street minister, called on councils to cut parking fines
    Said 'free zones' should be created in city centres to help small traders
    Comes as councils are set to make record £687million in fines this year
    Shop owners in one Wales town saw sales jump by up to 50 per cent after all the parking machines in the city centre broke


Councils are being urged to create free parking zones in town and city centres in order to help businesses compete with the rise of online shopping.

Marcus Jones, the minister for high streets, said councils need to do more in order to save shops from closure instead of punishing owners and motorists with 'over-zealous' fines.

His comments come as it was revealed councils are on course to make a record £687million from charges this year, despite government warnings that fines should not be used to raise revenue.


The government has called on councils to create free parking zones in town and city centres in order to help small businesses compete with the rise of online shopping (file image)

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Jones said: 'Those areas [without parking meters] seem to be doing better and I think it's really important that councils understand that and develop their policies to make sure that they are attracting people to come and shop and frequent the high street.

'Unfair parking fines push up the cost of living and undermine high streets. Instead councils should be focusing their efforts on supporting our town centres and motorists, not by raising money through over-zealous enforcement.'


High streets minister Marcus Jones condemned 'over-zealous' enforcement of parking, saying it was hurting both business owners and motorists

Mr Jones' comments came after traders in the Welsh town of Cardigan reported a jump in sales of up to 50 per cent after all four parking machines in the town centre broke.

Shopkeepers were given the unexpected boost after vandals smashed the machines, and town officials could not find the £22,500 needed for repairs.

Now they are urging town leaders to consider not replacing the machines in order to help them compete in an increasingly online marketplace.

Campaigners believe Cardigan’s experience could be replicated across the country to help counter the drop in the number of high street shops.

The national total slumped by nearly 20,000 to just over 129,000 in only the last decade.

Cafe owner Jane Roche said shoppers were taking advantage of the free parking to stay longer.

‘The town is much busier, with customers saying that it is really nice not to have to rush back to their cars,’ she said.

Keith Davies, 64, former chairman of Cardigan Traders who has run a butcher’s shop there since 1978, said business was better than it had been in years.

‘We’ve long campaigned for free parking, and while we don’t condone the damage to the machines, the difference it’s made is unbelievable,’ he added.


The comments came after shopkeepers in Cardigan (pictured) reported a boost in sales of up to 50 per cent after all four parking meters in the town centre broke

‘Instead of going out of town to Tesco or Aldi, people can stay in the centre for five or six hours without having to pay or worry about getting a ticket.

'They can go into shops then stop at a café or a restaurant without having to rush.'

The news came as it was revealed that councils are expected to make £687million from parking charges this year, up £39million from last year.

That is despite the government trying to crack down on excessive fines, warning that councils using parking as a way to boost their revenue would get decreased funding from the government.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3166180/Calls-free-parking-town-centres-save-high-street-rise-online-shopping-traders-Welsh-town-leap-sales-ticket-machines-broke.html

Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #5 on: 21 July, 2015, 08:27:56 AM »
Ooooh look! Since this became a national embarrassment for Ceredigion council and the parking industry, the council have miraculously come up with some emergency funds to fix a problem that wasn't really a problem.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-33550763

Smashed parking meters fixed despite business boom

AT THIS POINT THERE IS A NICE LITTLE VIDEO ON THE BBC WEBSITE, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO PUT A LINK UP TO IT HERE. YOU CAN VIEW IT ON THE LINK HERE:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-33550763

Parking meters in a Ceredigion town which were smashed by vandals are being fixed, despite traders claiming business had boomed in their absence.

The pay and display machines at different locations in Cardigan had been out of order since early June.

Cardigan Traders said shoppers have been spending more in the town since being able to park for free, with one business reporting a 30% rise.

Ceredigion council has been asked to comment.

Traders in the town said a rise in footfall coincided with the vandalism, and asked the council to cut parking charges.

Martin Radley, chairman of Cardigan Traders, said a meeting was held on Tuesday night and that "everybody feels it's busier".



But on Thursday workmen were seen fixing the broken meters, and told BBC Wales they expected them to be back in action by Monday, 20 July.

The traders said they did not condone the criminal damage, but Mr Radley said he hoped the council would see just how business has improved.

"We do understand the dilemma of Ceredigion county council but if you reduce car parking charges or have free parking it would bring people into the shopping areas," said Mr Radley, who runs Queens Bakeries.

"We have always said that high parking charges is not the answer for the high street.

"The only people who benefit are the big boys, the Tescos and the Aldis, who already have free parking.

"I hope that this shows that if they make parking more sensible and reasonable that it helps."

The meters were spotted being fixed by workmen on Thursday
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Offline 2b1ask1

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Re: The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #6 on: 21 July, 2015, 10:11:33 AM »
Stop press:

Ceredigion B&Q report they sold out of expanding foam at the weekend.....
Willing to do my bit...

Offline Web Admin

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Re: Cardigan - The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #7 on: 27 July, 2015, 03:38:27 PM »
How Cardigan's experience in free parking should make us reconsider how to help Wales' struggling high streets

Councils should see parking as a service for local people and a way to support high streets writes Dylan Jones-Evans


Business leaders in Cardigan attributed a noticeable rise in footfall to broken pay and display ticket machines

Many movie aficionados like myself would agree that one of the most underrated films ever made is the story of a Korean War veteran who ends up going to prison after a breakdown.

Cool Hand Luke, starring the irrepressible Paul Newman in the title role, begins with the main character arrested for cutting the heads off parking meters, an act that gets him arrested and jailed.

I would very much doubt that those drunken yobs who smashed up the parking meters in the West Wales market town of Cardigan last month did so because of post traumatic stress syndrome from fighting in a brutal war. Indeed, it has been reported that they were merely looking for more beer money by breaking open the parking meters.

And whilst no one would condone such vandalism, the delay by Ceredigion County Council in repairing those meters seems to have led to unusual consequences that has resulted in greater economic activity across the town.

This is because more people have apparently been taking advantage of the lull in car parking charges to come to Cardigan town centre to shop, with local retailers benefiting from the increase in footfall, some by as many as 50% in increased sales.


Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, possibly not an inspiration to Cardigan vandals

Not surprisingly, politicians have already looked at this unintended experiment as having the potential to develop a new policy to boost local shops. For example, Marcus Jones, the new high streets minister in the UK Government, has suggested that small town centres could become “parking meter-free zones” in an effort to save shops from closure.

Of course, there are those who clearly would object to any relaxation of parking laws with some anti-car lobbying groups suggesting that all the evidence shows that shopkeepers tend to seriously overestimate the proportion of customers that travel by car.

Unfortunately, most of the research they regularly quote against local free parking seems to be related to reports from major metropolitan areas such as London, New York and San Francisco rather than small rural towns where many people have no option but to take the car to go shopping for their weekly goods.

Perhaps this is where the problem lies, namely in the lack of detailed studies to measure the real benefits of making it as easy as possible for those living within our rural communities to access local services, especially within their nearest town.

Whilst cities such as Cardiff do need to get more people travelling by foot, bike or public transport, it is increasingly difficult to do the same within rural Wales, especially as there is more chance of catching a cold than a local bus to your nearest shopping centre.

And whether campaigners like it or not, having a car is increasingly essential if you are living outside an urban area in Wales and the reality of this situation means that, unfortunately, it is unlikely to change in the near future.

Of course, the lack of free car parking is not the only issue affecting small retail shops. Online shopping has grown over the last few years with many small shops complaining that those who sell online do not have to pay the same high level of business rates.


Free parking at edge of town supermarkets puts high streets at a competitive disadvantage

Similarly, the large supermarkets often built on the edge of many towns do not charge for parking that, again, is a competitive disadvantage as compared to high streets where parking is restricted and charged for.

Whether policy should address these types of issues to address the increasing deficit in our high streets is clearly a debate that may be worth having.

Local authorities should see parking as a service for local people

In fact, there is probably no easy solution but as part of a town centre strategy, local authorities should not view parking provision as a short term method to raise money but more as a service for local people, and more importantly, as a way of supporting the high street in market towns across Wales.

For the retailers of Cardigan, it was inevitable that the grinding bureaucracy of local authorities would inevitably start working again and as of the beginning of this week, the parking meters have been repaired and are back in operation.

Only time will tell whether the lull in car parking charges will have convinced more people to shop locally in this wonderful market town.

At least it has brought the issue of our declining high streets to the fore again and one can only hope that politicians will finally do something positive to address this in the near future.

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Comments

 BPA

Your article on Cardigan's free parking experiences (following vandalism of the town's parking machines) makes for thought-provoking reading.

The British Parking Association with the Association of Town & City Management undertook a major piece of research recently to assess the impact of parking on the High Street. In "Re-Think! Parking on the High Street" we concluded that there is some evidence of car park prices being too high in smaller market towns particularly where the Council is the sole provider of car parking.

But in the vast majority of towns and cities there was no such evidence. Indeed, on the whole motorists choose where they want to park based on accessibility and convenience, not on price. Safety is the second most important consideration after accessibility.

The fact is there is no clear relationship between car parking charges and the amenities on offer in a location.
So while there are lessons to be learned from Cardigan those lessons are not useful for most of our High Streets where we need to focus much more on the convenience of parking and safety.

Patrick Troy, Chief Executive, BPA



http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-opinion/how-cardigans-experience-free-parking-9719411

Offline scalyback

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Re: Cardigan - The effect of damaging parking meters
« Reply #8 on: 28 July, 2015, 06:28:21 PM »
"motorists choose where they want to park based on accessibility and convenience, not on price."

Yes, well nobody wants to park in Walthamstow, if they have come to visit Westminster!

 


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