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RAC survey finds motorists furious with parking charges - but Gloucestershire's councils reject findings

By jrmaidment  |  Posted: July 28, 2014

Comments (10)

A toxic combination of soaring pay and display charges, fewer and smaller spaces and the disappearance of free parking is leaving motorists with major headaches and lighter pockets.

An RAC survey of more than 1,500 drivers across the country revealed 80 per cent of people believe parking charges in towns and cities are on the rise.

Meanwhile, two thirds of drivers believe there is now less parking close to their town or city centre and that parking restrictions have become more stringent where they live.

And 65 per cent of motorists reported that even when they finally find a space to park it’s too small for today’s breed of cars.

However, the majority of councils in Gloucestershire which are responsible for parking do not necessarily agree with the findings of the survey.

Brian Robinson, deputy leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said: “We’ve listened to the concerns of residents and local traders who felt that shoppers had limited time to browse in the towns and as a result we decided to reduce the parking charges for up to two hours to 20p and the cost of an annual permit to £120.”

Cheltenham Borough Council has not raised car park fees since March 2010 but it will lose spaces when the redevelopment of the town’s North Place car park begins.

Yvonne Hope, head of public protection at the authority, said: “During the redevelopment of North Place there will be a reduction in spaces but these users will be redirected to other town centre car parks, such as Town Centre East."

Some of the councils believe the RAC findings do not apply to their area.

Tewkesbury Borough Council’s asset manager Andy Noble, said: “Contrary to the RAC’s report, our long stay car park charges haven’t increased in the past eight years, and our short stay car park charges have stayed the same since 2010.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Stroud District Council said: “Our parking charges have not risen for quite a few years and we have recently taken over management of a multi-storey car park in Stroud with a view to improving it to support local shops.”

Gloucester City Council could not be reached for comment.

However, John Gough, a driving instructor in Gloucester with more than 50 years’ experience, was damning of the city’s parking situation.

“I really think Gloucester is dying because of the cost of parking and yes, you do have to go around the block a few times to find a space,” he said.

Cotswold District Council has not increased charges since 2010.

Gloucestershire County Council is responsible for all on street parking and Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: "The findings in this report are not a true reflection of the parking reality in Gloucestershire.

“The county council regularly review on-street parking with a view to increase parking space not take it away.

“Gloucestershire County Council has a duty to taxpayers to make the best use of its resources. There hasn’t been an increase in parking charges since 2005 and money made through on-street parking is ploughed back into improving our roads.”

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  • raidermanuk  |  July 29 2014, 12:39PM

    honslknjklyt _ I understand your logic but it would be an opportunity to buck the anti car policy that the Councils have and actually increase car parking capacity. They could easily have contributed to the cost of underground parking for 1000 cars at the new North St development (and any other). There's no reason why there shouldn't be enough parking capacity to satisfy everyone's needs. Prefer Burger King myself (but sooo many calories!).

    |   6
  • honslknjklyt  |  July 29 2014, 11:59AM

    But there would be no room if parking was free. Prices would have to rise in town centre shops to make up the deficit that the councils make from parking. Blue badge users and abusers get free parking outside Debenhams, they clog it up and no one else in general can park there. I prefer out of town shopping centres as well as I think they are less crowded. I know which Gloucester McDonalds I will be going to most often!! The out of town McDonalds are usually less crowded and less rowdy.

    |   -13
  • raidermanuk  |  July 29 2014, 11:46AM

    honslknjklyt - dress it which ever way you want. Out of town centres provide me with the shops I want with goods at reasonably competitive prices and I still do not put money in machines to park. As for free parking what a revelation that would be! Car parks and on-street parking for free drawing in extra visitors from miles around.

    |   9
  • honslknjklyt  |  July 29 2014, 11:31AM

    Parking is still not free Raidermanuk in out of town centres. It is the individual shops that pay for YOUR parking instead of you paying for it. The set up is different. The land is directly outside of their stores, These shops do not own land outside of their stores in towncentres. The council provides plenty of free parking in the town centre but this is for the privilege and exclusive to blue badge users and blue badge abusers. If the council provided free parking there would be great difficulty in finding parking at all.

    |   -15
  • raidermanuk  |  July 29 2014, 11:09AM

    I certainly won't pay to park in or near Cheltenham town centre and, as a result, I can't remember the last time I spent a £ in the town centre shops. Internet and out of town centres for me - much more customer orientated.

    |   5
  • Lecorche  |  July 28 2014, 7:33PM

    Paying to park to spend your money in the city centre's shops is bad enough but paying to park at Gloucestershire Royal is an unfair and excessive tax on illness.

    |   13
  • EllJay1  |  July 28 2014, 7:21PM

    I merely asked where Town Centre East is because I don't drive into town these days (I use my bus pass instead) and had no idea where it is. Why the red rating please?

    |   -1
  • galopede1  |  July 28 2014, 6:35PM

    Town Centre East - that'll be the horrible multistory above Lidl that nobody dares to leave their car in.

    |   5
  • honslknjklyt  |  July 28 2014, 4:55PM

    Boo hoo, people want free parking, free parking and more free parking. Free free free is all that some people in this country understand. Even in places where parking is free free free, such as Mcdonalds and motorway service stations, they want unlimited free! Peetakers.

    |   -17
  • EllJay1  |  July 28 2014, 4:26PM

    Where is Town Centre East?

    |   -1