Friday, 16 December 2011

Parking changes "will damage Solihull trade"

A PLAN to make Mell Square shoppers pay for parking on arrival instead of exit risks turning shoppers way from Solihull, a pressure group has warned.

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Solihull Ratepayers Association said the council bid to axe payment on exit at the mutli-storey from February 1 would add to “growing resentment” over parking charges.

The council said it was ending the present system - where drivers take a ticket when entering the car park and pay before leaving - as machines had been vandalised.

Drivers will be able to top up their ticket by mobile phone if they wish to stay longer than allowed.

But in a letter to the council, association secretary Trevor Eames said the move will lead to a “substantial increase” in parking tickers as drivers over-stay their alloted time.

Coupled with parking charges, this would further deter people from shopping in Solihull, he said.

He said: “There is a growing resentment by motorists to paying expensive parking charges and consider with the high cost of petrol and other taxes that £4 for a three hour stay is expensive and easily avoidable by shopping elsewhere.”

Shoppers are going out of town where parking is free or buying online, he said.

Some who get a fine “will either never use the town centre again or reduce their usage significantly in future” he said.

Mr Eames said: “Its all too easy to inadvertently overstay in a centre like Solihull where there can be lots of activities to distract and encourage shoppers only for too many to have their shopping experience ruined by receiving an expensive parking ticket.”

Latest council figures, from August to September, show the council issued 8,584 parking tickets, of which 23 per were cancelled on appeal to bosses.

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