you can almost hear the groans of “here we go again” in car-owning households across the Capital.
The cost of parking in the city centre has soared in recent years and plans had already been put forward to extend restrictions to Sundays. Now motorists look likely to be clobbered with extra charges later in to the evening as well.
For many people that will mean that going out to a show or for a meal at a restaurant will cost a few quid more. Okay that might not break the bank, but parking in the city centre is not cheap. This would be yet another incentive for motorists to go instead to out-of-town complexes where they can park for free right at the door of the attractions they want to visit.
At a time when we are in the middle of a £1 million promotional campaign to attract residents back to the city centre, does it really make sense to give people a reason to do the opposite?
Parking in the city centre is neither cheap nor plentiful. The St James Quarter redevelopment will fix at least one of those problems with the building of a huge underground car park. Until then the city messes with the delicate balance of factors that persuade people to visit the city centre or not at their – and all our – peril.
The reason given for the latest extension to the city’s ever expanding regime of parking charges is that residents living around the city centre are struggling to find parking spaces in the evening.
There are undoubtedly some residents who would welcome the latest restrictions, but frankly no one believes that this is the real motivation. Make no mistake, this is first and foremost a revenue-generating plan,
The city council does have to look at ways of raising more money if it is to avoid cutting back on important frontline services. Everyone understands that. But the city may come to regret yet again targeting motorists visiting the city centre.