LETTER: Free spaces would not solve problems

Your letters
Your letters

I write regarding Tim Cooper’s letter on Free Parking (Middy letters 6/8/15).

Unfortunately Mr Cooper’s letter on the benefits Welsh shopkeepers, in Cardigan, derived from free parking does not give the whole picture. In May this year, the Welsh government commissioned research into the effects of free parking. The results were unequivocal.

According to Market Research UK (mruk):

“Beyond anecdote, there is very little published evidence which links changes in car park charges to changes in town-centre footfall.

“Whilst a ‘blanket’ free parking strategy has been suggested to encourage more car park users, these were generally found not to benefit target visitors – for example, the spaces were used primarily by town-centre workers who were taking up the spaces all day, rather than shoppers – and consequently had an unexpectedly negative impact on footfall.”

Burgess Hill of course is not Wales but the effects here could be even worse with rail commuters from Burgess Hill to Brighton flooding the town’s roads to get free parking and cheaper rail fares.

I don’t doubt that Labour ran a successful petition for free parking, just as I do not doubt that if I ran a petition for free beer or free anything, it would be a roaring success. However, free parking is not exactly ‘free’ as it helps balance the council’s books. Labour does not exactly have a great track record for book keeping.

As for UKIP’s comments on the issue, they have as much credibility as Nigel Farage’s excuse of immigrants clogging up the M4 for not turning up at a meeting.

I do agree with Mr Cooper that it would be great if we could solve all the problems of the high street with free parking but I know no one here who travels to Midhurst or Hurst to shop because the parking is free.

Richard Cherry

Junction Road, Burgess Hill

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