6 Sep 2012

Parking prices up 12.5 per cent in a year

Britons are spending nearly £8bn a year to park their cars and high charges are deterring shoppers from visiting town centres according to a survey.

Parking charges rise 12.5 per cent in a year (Getty)

Of the 2,000 people contacted in the research carried out by Confused.com, 69 per cent said they intentionally avoided shopping areas with high parking prices.

Almost two thirds of those questioned said they would return to the high street if parking was more affordable.

In her recent report for government on the future of the country’s high streets, retail guru Mary Portas recommended action on parking costs:

“Local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres and we should have a new parking league table.”

Ms Portas commented in her findings: “I fundamentally believe that to increase the cost of parking in a locality when there are alternatives offering free parking is to curtail the appeal of that location to the shopping customer and therefore the long term viability and wellbeing of the area.”

It is perhaps no surprise to find that the highest charges are being levied in the up-market London area of Knightsbridge where motorists can face charges of up to £36 for three hours parking.

Driving us crazy?

According to the survey, parking caused many motorists anxiety: 60 per cent said they spent between six and 20 minutes every trip searching for a space to leave their car, while 30 per cent confessed to not feeling safe in cark parks.

The ever-increasing size of cars was no-doubt part of the reason that 21 per cent of respondents found current parking spaces are not big enough.