A Private Member’s Bill has been put forward to assist councils with cutting parking charges – and ensuring they consult when seeking to raise them.
The bill by Conservative MP, David Tredinnick, received its second reading on Friday (25 November), and has been supported by the government.
Local government minister Marcus Jones said of the legislation in the Commons debate: 'The Bill that he has introduced to the House is important legislation.
'I believe it offers a reform that will have a real, lasting and very positive impact on many of our town centres.'
The aim of the Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill is essentially to make it easier for local authorities to lower parking charges, without having to go through numerous bureaucratic issues, such as having to post notices in local papers giving 21 days notice of the change.
It also seeks to ensure that councils consult all interested parties and stakeholders if they are seeking to increase the cost of parking charges across their localities.
The Bill, which only applies in England, amends provisions in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and will in effect give the secretary of state regulation-making powers to enforce the above changes.
Speaking in the Commons on Friday, Tredinnick said he was ‘astonished’ when he looked into the issue that councils didn’t have the powers to reduce charges quickly and efficiently.
He said: 'I understand (the Bill) has the backing of not only the Government but Santa Claus.
'I had a note down my chimney last night, and I shall explain why. The Bill will be very helpful to local authorities, particularly at Christmas time, when cities and towns are full of shoppers and councils might want to reduce, or waive altogether, some on-street and off-street parking charges.
'Parking has the potential to enhance the economic vitality of town centres.'
Tredinnick also said it would allow councils to develop temporary incentives for under-utilised car parks – and increase awareness of those assets to the local community.