Are parking charges in Gloucester driving people away?
TRAFFIC wardens in Gloucester are putting shoppers off visiting the city, according to one family who ended up with a parking fine.
Martin Smith, 51, of Stroud, parked in Pitt Street for an afternoon of shopping with his wife Susan, daughter Dominique, 31, and her friend.
The engineer planned to visit Debenhams, Sainsbury's and BHS in the city, so paid for two hours of parking at £2.70.
The trip took longer than expected so Mr Smith went back to top up his parking time with a new £1.40 pay and display ticket.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
On returning to his car 40 minutes later, he was surprised to see a traffic warden slapping a £25 parking fine on his windscreen – despite there being 15 minutes left on his ticket.
"I couldn't believe it," he said.
"He said I wasn't allowed to stay longer than two hours, despite there being hardly any other cars parked in the street. It's a bit of a joke when you consider they are trying to attract shoppers to Gloucester. This sort of thing just puts people off.
"We won't be coming back. You can park free in Swindon, Cheltenham and Bristol and traffic wardens there are much more reasonable."
Westgate Traders Association chairman and owner of Truscott Jewellers Ivan Taylor said: "Parking will always be a problem, it is a fine balance.
"Maybe the council should consider having cheaper rates on less busy days to attract more people then. The last thing we want to do as city is drive people away. We should be attracting them to the city centre to shop.
"Some visitors to Gloucester from big cities think our car parking charges are reasonable, but others coming from rural areas where you can park for free, think the opposite."
Nicky Wildin, of Stanman's Kitchen, in Westgate Street, believes changes could be made to parking in Gloucester but she understands that the council must charge.
She said: "After talking to customers, parking is the biggest bugbear.
"There is no doubt if parking was cheaper in the city centre then it would attract more people. But car parks need to be maintained and that has to be afforded somehow."
Barry Leach, from the Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership, said parking regulations need to be flexible.
"It is not good for trade. A maximum of three hours would make more sense," he said.
Jim Daniels, parking manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "On street parking in Pitt Street is designed to maximise short stays. This allows for quicker turnover of car parking spaces, meaning more visitors for the town centre."
A city council spokesman said people could appeal against fines if they felt they were wrong.