More free parking for shopping in towns

One of the reasons sone town centres are struggling is the difficulty and cost of parking. People can buy on the internet without stirring from their armchair. They can drive to the out of town retail park and park for free outside the shop door. Shopping in many town centres can require a difficult journey, can pose difficulties sometimes in finding  a car park  space, and results in a charge. It’s an important part of the background to the decline  of many a town shopping centre.

What can be done?

The first thing is to get the most out of the car parks we have. You can get more cars into a piece of land and it is easier to park if the  spaces are marked out at 45 degrees to the access and not  at 90 degrees as most currently are. Private and public car park owners could sort this out and benefit from doing so. Convention should dictate you park front in. A one way access and exit route then minimises loss of parking spaces.

Councils could increase the ratio of parking spaces to shops when authorising new developments or  improving their centres.There is often spare public land near a centre that can be used. In Council car parks they could allow a charge free period to encourage shoppers. Where this represented unfair competition to private car parks the Council could pay the private car park to make free time  available on a similar basis as public car parks from its town centre promotion budget.

You can’t easily go food shopping or shopping for larger items by bus or train as you need to get the goods back to your home. Councils need  to place sufficient spaces near to the shops. They also need to improve the main routes into the  cities  and towns so people can drive to these car parks more easily.

Getting business rates and rents down on more shops will be helpful to assisting town centres, but the thing they  need most is more customers. One of the most  important ways of boosting numbers is to help people get to shops, restaurants and coffee bars in the towns. Shoppers resent time lost in traffic jams  and money spent on car parks.


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  1. L Jones
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    It’s not just shopping that is affected.
    In our city, public car parks have £1 parking from 7-9 pm. Unfortunately, many shows, films, talks, etc, begin at 7 pm. So one is forced to pay for three hours’ parking from, say, 6.30 to 9 pm.
    Joined up thinking?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      The thinking goes like this:- how can we get as much money as possible of the cash cow motorist & public so we can continue to waste it to fund our high salaries and gold plated pensions? This while we close all the libraries, public loos, run bog standard schools and even charge a fortune for refuse collection too.

      • tim
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        100% True. I would also add to this” the rich parasites thinking”

        • Hope
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          with your permission Lawyers for Britain has written a very good article about trade, tariffs and how much better off we will be out of the EU contrary to the scare stories of project fear and the current cabinet office leak.

          Very detailed it shoots Hammond and his cronies out of the water, similar to what you did today in the media as well.

        • Hope
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          The speed camera traps are income generation NOT,accident prevention. Examination data for accidents inlcusing fatal and serious hot spots and compare to sites where speed vans are located. Quite disgusting. The first role should be prevention and preservation to life and limb not income to help greedy wasteful incompetent councils!

          Javid as Business Secreatry failed to help save British Steel, he failed to bring about change as Communities Secretary but hiked our council tax 5 percent each in stark contrast against a Tory promise not to do so and against a promise to hold a referendum if they did, he failed as Home Secretary presiding over the worst crimes figures in forty years for knife crime and murder, again promoted not based in merit or track record to Chancellor where read he is to hike taxes for houses again!

          Johnson might get the headline for a diverse cabinet but we want a competent cabinet who acts on their manifesto promises like a Trump has!

      • Mark B
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Plus pay for other people’s care whist we who work hard, save and buy a home will have to sell ours.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Or have 40% of anything over £325K taken of us on death. Javid it is now still ratting on the promise of £1 million each IHT threshold. In the UK is it nearly £10 million before you pay IHT. Sensible countries have no IHT at all.

          • hefner
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

            Why have you not yet moved to one of the 17 no-IHT countries?
            Lux, Serbia, Slovenia, Estonia, Israel, Mexico, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Macau, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Australia.
            Re. Y/comment 09:27, these countries might be safer too.

            And BTW, your refrain about the present UK tax being the worst in 50 years is wrong: have you ever looked at what the tax rates were around 1969: “one for you, nineteen for me” Taxman, George Harrison.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

            I have (and it is not just the IHT you save). It would cost me well into seven figures a year if I returned to the UK so absurd are taxes and tax system there. Though I still have to pay some UK taxes on rents and gains.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            So hefner why dont you move to an EU nation of your liking?
            Same logic.

          • hefner
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, well I am not moaning about taxes in every of my posts. As for logic, what about you reading ‘You talking to me’ by Sam Leigh. You might learn a few things.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            I dont ” moan about taxes in every of my posts”
            So you start with an error.
            I’m aware of this book but I’m not impressed.

          • hefner
            Posted August 19, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            The problem with Edward2 today is that he intervened in a tentative conversation with Lifelogic. Obviously Edward2 doesn’t moan about taxes.
            Edward2 is the perfect case of ‘I was talking to the butcher, and that’s the andouille that answered’. If Edward2 were to read the contributions before jumping like a little kiddie into the puddle…

          • libertarian
            Posted August 19, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink


            You owe LL an apology he said its the worst in 50 years 1969 IS 50 years ago DOH !

            Just so you know the Tax as a percentage of GDP in 1969 was 34% in 2018 it was 33.8%

          • hefner
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Oh another kiddie in the puddle … 34% in 1969 is larger than 33.8% in 2018, and the highest rate of 95% in 1969 is somewhat larger than 45% today. Well, what new comparison are you going to bring, oh Supreme Intellect?

        • NigelE
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          And of course, Councils pay less for their supported residents than the residents who pay from their own means. To me, this is easily the worst aspect of the current care funding system.

          Where’s equality when you need it, eh?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Are libraries still relevant ? Why ? When did you last use one ?

        They are one of those things like the NHS that politicians of all parties automatically assume are sacrosanct and so there’s little debate about whether they should continue forever in their current form.

      • steve
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink


        “The thinking goes like this:- how can we get as much money as possible of the cash cow motorist & public so we can continue to waste it to fund our high salaries and gold plated pensions?”

        Yes that’s about the size of it.

        Many councils use cuts as an excuse for poor service, while at the same time they have Chief Executives on about £150k a year and a final salary pension, and all they do is appear in the local rag stood next to the mayor a couple of times a year.

        They should get rid of the CE’s before they compromise public services.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      Yes, this probably applies to many places outside of London.

      Alexander Johnson’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone won’t have an adverse effect there, because of the excellent public transport, notably the underground.

      There wouldn’t be enough on-street parking in many medium-sized places though, and that would mean compulsory purchase of private car parks to make them free. In turn there would be budgetary implications for Council Tax payers, for maintenance and security.

      An alternative means of finance would be needed then, say on vehicle duty?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Martin in Cardiff

        This edgy comment about Johnsons name , what is the point? Boris is his known name

        How about using the finances raised from Business rates on otherwise empty business premises ?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          It’s a nicer name. And it’s how he was always known – and still is – before he invented a public personage, we read.

          Ask, say, oh, say, Northampton Council, if the revenues from the UBR have not all been allocated already?

          • libertarian
            Posted August 19, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink


            Youve known him a long time then?

            When I first actually MET him many many many years ago he was called Boris. He started to call himself Boris whilst at school

            Your second statement is nonsensical both in written English and logic. I didn’t ask what they have spent I asked how much MORE could they raise if they made it more attractive to rent empty property that currently doesn’t return them any revenue

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Ditto an odd amount charged for parking at machines, no change given. 70p is typical.

      Yet these machines are sophisticated enough to ask for your registration number so that you can’t pass your ticket on.

      If I’ve paid for three hours of parking why can’t I give the remaining hour to a friend if I go early ? Especially when the council have been awkward (untruthful) on the price they charge and won’t give out change for odd amounts.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        I doubt if it were anyone at the Council, but more likely the designers of these machines, Anon.

        • L Jones
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          And the council purchase them, aware of the design, and knowing they’ll be a money spinner.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        My local council have a car park where you pay on leaving using ANPR .

        It let me in , it allowed me to pay but wouldn’t let me out. Of course at 9pm theres no council worker on hand to fix the problem, but then this is a council who’s parking enforcement officers gave me a parking ticket in another car park at 8pm on Sunday evening , even though I had paid using Ringo. Took a month to sort that out

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          It’s progress Lib. You can’t knock it.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 19, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink


            Funnily enough the technology seems to work fine when its not run by the council

    • Peter
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Whatever happened to car parks with attendants where you paid on leaving?

      I don’t want to have to decide in advance how long I stay somewhere. I might want to prolong a visit but unless I have paid in advance or return to the car park I cannot do so.

      Supermarkets in my High Streets offer free parking for the duration of a shop so I use them. Shopping malls and DIY stores also have parking. I have no wish to queue to park in somewhere like Kingston when I can either use public transport or head into Central London for a far better selection of shops.

      Research on the internet can reduce the number of trips for the purpose of window shopping or investigating what is on offer.

      Frankly I think you are flogging a dead horse writing about purchases of new cars and the death of the High Street. Life moves on and people modify their behaviour over time.

      • Pauline Jorgensen
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        The new car park machines in Wokingham Borough have check in and check out, that way you can tap your contactless card on exit and pay for what you use.

    • Peter
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      ‘You can’t easily go food shopping or shopping for larger items by bus or train as you need to get the goods back to your home.’

      Yes you can. It is what people used to do in the days before widespread car ownership.

      There is a trend back towards more frequent food shopping anyway. The days of the massive weekly shop at a huge supermarket are disappearing.

      Today I have just seen cars queueing to get into a Lidl store. So it shows that if you sell things for which there is a demand or the price is competitive then shoppers will visit your store. Some sensible shoppers arrived on foot and saved time queuing. It was raining but people used to be able to cope with rain.

      On a similar subject, Routemaster buses in London never took pushchairs or wheelchairs and they were swifter because of this and also the ease with which passengers could hop on and off.

      It should not be too much to expect parents to fold pushchairs before alighting on buses. In earlier times mothers pushing prams shopped locally without catching buses. The disabled had to make their own arrangements too, without assistance of ramps and alarm signals on buses and trains.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        The law and common decency require the disabled to be considered Peter.

        I agree about the large buggies that parents insist on owning these days. What was wrong with the simple folding Maclaren buggy. Now the pushchair is a statement purchase.

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          They look more like invalid carriages these days.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink


      • libertarian
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink


        Once upon a time you just went and hunted a mammoth for dinner too

        The rest of us live in 21st century . I’m old enough to remember my mum walking to the local shops , greengrocer, grocer, butcher, bakery and newsagent . All in the village we lived in. Of course none of them exist any longer , to walk to the shops now they are 14 miles away and at 94 I think thats asking a bit much dont you?

        • Peter
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          You are lucky to be still driving at age 94.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 19, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink


            I’m not 94 my mum is, and she doesn’t drive any longer , or walk to the shops. She is quite modern for a 94 year old ( unlike you) she uses her iPad to order online and have it delivered

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Libertarian. I was going to say exactly that. The local shops have either disappeared or many have closed. Peter, your comments regarding the disabled. It sounds as though you want to go back to the dark ages. Put yourself in their place. Many want to be independent and I admire them for wanting to try. If it’s inconvenient to the rest of us able bodied people then tough. Have a bit of compassion. Housewives used to wash by hand but have washing machines now. It’s called progress.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Rates and parking charges plus the various motorist mugging methods and cameras that local governments use. This is an idiotic, very inefficient and very annoying way to tax people.

    Clearly however we do need fewer shops overall and some need to be converted to housing or other uses. The prices of some items in shops though can be absurd. I expect to pay a bit more than on line but often the prices are very high. I needed some reading glasses urgently when in the City recently and had to pay £30 for a pair at Boots. From Amazon 5 pairs (of rather better ones cost £12 delivered). I do not mind paying a bit more but 14 times more? This quite quickly puts customers off as they feel rather ripped off.

    A similar rip off multiple on a printer cable I bought from Maplin just before all these shops closed down.

    Why do tooth brushes cost circa £3 in most shops & supermarkets when they must cost less than 10p to make? Yet four for a pound at the £1 shop I noticed recently.

    Shops which you need to attend like hair salons, nail bars, coffee shops, opticians etc. will survive many others will not and will need to convert get the planning restrictions and costs removed.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The writing was on the wall five years ago yet they are all still scratching their heads wondering what to do and in many instances, King Canute like , pushing back against what it irreversible.

      Virtue signalling politicians who proposes taxes punish efficiency and innovation and who pays? Of course we do.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 19, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink


        Exactly and what is laughable is all the leftie idiots that keep insisting on MORE and HIGHER business taxes as well as now so called ‘Internet” tax.

        The brain dead have no idea that its THEM who will be paying it via higher prices

        The same people who demand more and more workers rights/holidays/paid leave then wonder why their wages dont rise enough

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      If you can find a safe route then I do recommend electric bikes. It reminds me of being 18 again and I get just the same amount of exercise but cycle rather further. Also I do not hold up the traffic too much on the hills.

      Electric cars on the other hand still need much improvement before they are very sensible or remotely cost effective for most people. This despite all the totally misguided tax payer subsidies and market distortions. They even lie that these cars are “zero emission” and the ASA seem to think this is fine. More concerned with political correctness than lies – banning totally inoffensive VW and Philadelphia cheese ads seems to be the priority!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      If you had gone to Wilkinson or Poundland you would have got useable reading glasses for £1.

      Fantastic products up until I needed varifocals.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I would have but not many of these near to Bank Tube

    • Bob
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Stanstead Airport Passenger Drop off charges.

      Tariffs (effective from 1st April 2019)
      ● Up to 10 minutes = £4
      ● 10 – 15 minutes = Additional £1 per minute
      ● Over 15 minutes = £25
      There will be a £20 charge for re-entering within 30 minutes of first entering.

      If airports want to soak passengers with exorbitant parking charges at our airports, at the very least they should provide covered parking to prevent passengers getting soaked again by the British weather.

  3. Nig l
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Cost of parking is an annoyance as are the horde of punishment attendants looking to pounce but do I care/will it make any difference? No.

    It does not provide the choice let alone the price. The last 4/5 items I bought on the internet I wouldn’t have even known where to look ‘back in the old days’.

    Give it up it’s gone. If you want to revive town centres, I don’t know why, because people are desperate for homes, eliminate traffic all together, allow cafes/restos to put tables outside and where size allows create some interest with street level intermittent fountains with coloured led lighting for effect and the kids to play in, they love them, whilst parents can have a drink etc.

    Look at the Grand Place’s on the continent as a model of what can be achieved.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      We have lowest criminal conviction rate since they started recording the figures. But one minute over you parking time and it is zero tolerance. You are mugged almost every time. All a question of government priorities and the main priority is clearly to mug, tax, licence, inconvenience and charge you when and wherever they can get away with it.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Yes, they are far poorer than under the Blair-Brown Labour administrations.

        Figures are hard to deduce, because of the concatenation of costs, but the final costs of crime in the UK are diligently estimated at several percent of GDP, as high as seven by some analyses.

        Making the elimination of as many of the causes of crime as possible should be high priority for any government therefore.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          Indeed 7% could well be rather an underestimate. Imaging if we needed no locks on anything, no theft insurance, had no shoplifting, far fewer police, no drugs, no need for a criminal justice system or indeed any prisons or probation officers.

          Still one can dream (or move somewhere safer) I suppose.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            An unoccupied house near me had fifty pounds worth of lead, the valleys, stolen from its roof.

            A torrential downpour has completely destroyed the interior, causing three hundred thousand pounds worth of damage. It will need a complete rebuild.

            I’m not sure if these sorts of costs can accurately be added to the stats, and as you say, that part of the economy devoted to prevention, everything from anti-malware apps to anti-dog fouling notices is incalculable, but the money could be far better spent.

            Which is why it is beyond me, that people are fulminating over point seven of a percent GDP going on aid, developing markets, that is, when so much more could be saved by a radical approach to crime.

          • NickC
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            Martin, You will find that the people who are “fulminating over point seven of a percent GDP” are also fulminating about crime levels and the uselessness of pc policing, etc.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Well that’s not correct Martin standards of living have risen since the dreadful Labour years.
          We are not far poorer.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            Quite right Edward2. I can remember when my father walked out on my mother leaving her with four children. The youngest was only 2years old and she didn’t have a mother to help her so couldn’t go out to work. The benefits she received were hardly enough to pay the rent and put any kind of food on the table let alone run a car, have a mobile phone (she didn’t have one at all), have Sky packages, go to the nail bar, get tatoos and have takeaways and go to the pub. This is the lifestyle some unmarried mothers enjoy today courtesy of the tax payer.

  4. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    It is attitudes that need to change mostly – For too long cars and their drivers have been seen as public enemy number one to certain groups, to be over-taxed at every opportunity and ripped off with parking charges and penalties.

    It would appear that councils are equally, if not not more guilty than central government of destroying town centres, by making access by cars almost impossible.

    The London congestion charge has been applied more spitefully than needed by the current mayor, and other big cities seem determined to obliterate cars from their streets, without providing adequate alternatives… It’s all about money

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Indeed all about money and high state sector salaries (at the top end especially) and gold plated state sector pensions. Paid for by the far more productive people in the private sector who often have no pensions at all other than the state one.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Too true Bryan.

      Reading Council are proposing a “congestion charge”, that will be the death knell to Reading high street….

  5. agricola
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Your thoughts on car parking are valid. Where I live in Spain most car parking is free, on the street or in designated car parks. The Spanish do not like paying for anything of this nature. We are not plagued with jobsworths in flat hats. If someone parks really inconsiderately they get towed. Even the Peage Autovia running along the coast is under utilised.

    Worcester UK, from where I currently write has gone a long way to solving the empty shop situation. They have slowly changed to specialist shops , retaurants, and coffee shops. Additionally every weekend there is an extensive street market selling street food and anything else you might wish to indulge in apart from weekly groceries. The supermarkets are both relatively central and fringe of central. The principal garden centre is also a thriving restaurant, and high end food supermarket including fruit and veg. The one ommission whether it be in supermarkets or specialist shops is a fresh fish outlet. This is only because the Brits do not eat much fish or shellfish. Worcester is not a big place 70-100,000 people but growing. Mostly with escapees from Birmingham. I am not privy to what the council do or think, but the end result is a reasonably vibrant thriving city so they must be getting much of the decision making right.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Not everywhere in Spain. I got towed away in Granada after parking where I thought parking was allowed. I never worked out where it said that it was not allowed. They must make a fortune mugging tourists in this way.

      • Dennis
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        I have travelled around Italy quite a lot for a log time and seen many Tow Away Zone signs in streets but have never seen a tow away vehicle. I have a nice photo of such a street jampacked with parked vehicles with such a sign prominently displayed along the street.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      I was in Southall and Hayes today where the town centres were packed with locals buying from independant shops selling goods and food relevant to the local community.

      The big boys have given up as they can’t penetrate the market. This suggests that it is the type of shops on the high street that drives traffic and not convenience.

      Hillingdon and Ealing also allow 30 minutes on street parking for free so you are more inclined to pop to the shops in the car.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      It’s a pity, then, that Worcester Council don’t take steps to clean up the buildings ABOVE those small shops, buildings that seem to be mostly empty. Mostly dirty and unkempt. And, while they’re at it, to clean up the chewing gum over every pavement. Worcester (and no doubt other cities) could be attractive as well as ‘thriving’ (as you see it) but our local authority seems to do nothing to make it so, but are just happy to pocket the money that comes with others’ success – parking fees, rents, etc.

  6. Fred H
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I have always thought parking from alternate one-way lanes into roughly 45 degree bays, both left and right would allow these lanes to converge into simpler exit routes, rather like the city blocks system. Easier to drive into, easier to reverse out.
    The unfairness of shops having taxes applied which do not exist for internet traders must be addressed. If it were possible councils ought to provide a carpark where only maximum parking is 1 hour shortstay free. Encourage brief shopping, simplify parking warden duties.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      I have friends who are retailers and internet giants are selling below cost a lot of the time – both to loss lead and to kill off the high street. It is blatant.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink


        If you think that internet retailers sell below cost to kill off the high street you are deluded

        I do wish people had the first idea about business

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Has the Greta PR machine commented on the five (?) crew flying out to collect the £multi million boat? I do not suppose they will do, it’s a religion not logic, science or reason after all. I feel rather sorry for the rather deluded girl who had clearly been taken in by all the ‘BBC think’ alarmist, loony propaganda. She is clearly being used by a largely bogus green industry plus the various very well funded charities and governments who are, at the very least paying lip service to it, and often far worse.

    Dan Hannan today:- Hong Kong is an island of freedom. We cannot just ignore what is happening there.

    Let us hope the Government are doing as much as they can to encourage the Chinese to take a sensible approach. But we are largely powerless given the great Lord Patton sell out. But then he was rather powerless even at the time. The same man who wants the EU to rule over the UK perhaps in a parallel way once they get their defence forces in place, unless we leave now.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      +1 On both topics.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Off topic in reply – Archbishop Cranmer website has something to say about the attitude to Hong Kong and Kashmir – ”Sovereignty: why is it good for Kashmir and Hong Kong, but bad for the UK?”
      Well worth a read, especially for remainers.

    • Bob
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      CO2 accounts for 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere, of which mankind’s contribution is 0.0012%
      in other words, negligible.

  8. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    We used to go shopping “in town” every week-end. It was rare to hear English spoken. The charity shops, Poundland stores and coffee shops did not attract us. The market did – but there are a lot of places to buy vegetables and meat from round here.
    So we stopped going.
    Outside the town, Tescos has walk round, safe shopping with a very wide variety to choose from and a very convenient trolley. We can see what we buy because it is clearly marked. Disabled people have free use of a motorised chariot. Parking is under cover and totally free. The staff are invariably nice to talk to. There is a nice coffee shop and the gym too. Also a good barbers…

    • Julie Williams
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Same for me:parking is not the problem, it’s the lack of shops.
      Primark, Greggs,Costa Coffee and mobile phone shops…whoopee!
      Marks and Sparks halved it’s size and never has my size, Debenhams has been open for two years and is earmarked for closure and our local House of Fraser likewise: an act of kindness, you could see more staff than shoppers.
      Just the same in France, we’re not unique and I suspect cheap parking is not the answer.

  9. jerry
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    “You can get more cars into a piece of land and it is easier to park if the spaces are marked out at 45 degrees”

    Err, 45 degrees parking, whilst easier, actually looses one space per row. That said, I agree with the suggestion, another benefit, it would force people to improve their reversing & observational skills or give up trying to drive a car!

    Physical layout is perhaps more important than road markings, one of our local supermarkets has a great car park, except that the physical layout (kerb stones and traffic islands etc) is that for driving on right, resulting congestion due to having to always turn across incoming traffic – a one-way system would make no difference to that car park, it’s already marked out as such!

    “You can’t easily go food shopping or shopping for larger items by bus or train as you need to get the goods back to your home.”

    Wow, how did we all managed in the 1950s through to the late 1970s, but then buses (and trains) were more frequent, and by the ’70s operated as a service not just for profit, whilst even quite small businesses would often offer a delivery-van service, but again that was the era when HMT actually helped retailers and trades people, allowing them to pay a reduced/restricted LG VED rather than having to shell out for the full fee PLG.

    You say shops need more customers, but how are they going to square that circle if they have to charge more than the out of town sheds, never mind the internet warehouses do. Many town centre shops, unless part of a bulk-buying group, can not make the savings that the sheds and centralised warehouses can to off set unnecessary and unwarranted levels of UBR.

    Not touched on; excessive use of unnecessary yellow lines, preventing safe on street parking (metered or not), although perhaps that is what you meant when talking about spaces near to the shops? Then of course there are the ill-conceived, ill-considered, pedestrianisations schemes that do nothing but put off the vast majority of would-be customers from using/visiting, LAs can’t just close a few roads etc. and expect these schemes to work. The best pedestrian-only town centres are those that were designed that way, the 1950-60s New Towns in other words, with (originally) plenty of free car parks around the outside but within reasonable walking distances of the shops.

    Reply. 45 degree means narrower access routes so more space

    • jerry
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply, True only for short vehicles, but planners have to allow for the longest, widest, likely vehicle, and parking space feeder lane widths are often actually governed by the necessary turn-in swing off the lane feeder roads, not the swing in or out of the parking space, otherwise many feeder roads would need to be a lot wider to allow swing – think LWB vans and limousines or motor-homes and other 5 and 7.5 tonne vehicles, even cars towing trailers/caravans, all of which are commonly used within domestic shopping life – especially in DIY/white goods retail car parks. That said I support the idea, because it does easy parking for most people, it just wont significantly increase usable spaces.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think 5 & 7.5 tonne, vehicles towing anything, nor motorhomes should be allowed in normal carparks. end of.

        • jerry
          Posted August 19, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

          @Fred H; Good idea! Let’s ban those using a trailer or rental van/truck to pick up their new DIY kitchen/white goods, the community style mini bus, or just those who need to shop before going on or returning from holiday, perhaps even the hard working sole trader…

  10. Christine
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Get rid of the Sunday trading laws. When you work full time and have only the weekend to shop it is inconvenient to be restricted to a few hours. Also money is being lost from tourists. The internet has 24/7 shopping so let the high street shops open when they want to.

    • jerry
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      @Christine; “When you work full time and have only the weekend to shop it is inconvenient to be restricted to a few hours.”

      Funny how people managed just fine before the mid 1980s!

      “The internet has 24/7 shopping so let the high street shops open when they want to.”

      Perhaps high street retailers should open their store in your front room too, that is the real reason why internet shopping, like catalogue shopping before it, has become popular – not opening hours.

      • Christine
        Posted August 19, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        How do you know people managed just fine before the mid 80s?

        Not everyone wants to shop online just like not everyone used catalogues.

        Just because you might not want to shop on the high street on a Sunday don’t presume to tell me how I should manage my life.

        • jerry
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          @Christine; Yours is an irrational logic, by definition someone will not ‘manage’, what ever the retail law, the house-bound who can not use a computer for example.

          How the hell do you think anyone survived back before the mid 1980s, never mind the 1950s, but many did -including the disabled house-bound, perhaps because the retail industry and society had different values back then?

          At least one supermarket chain has 24hr opening Monday-Friday, supermarkets and other shops open early to late Mon-Sat, most shops are open for 6 hours on Sundays, if you really can not arrange your life around those opening hours the problem is not retail law!

          Also do consider the logistics of the shops themselves, 4pm Sunday to 6am Monday is often used for deep cleaning and other maintenance.

          • Christine
            Posted August 22, 2019 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

            Between the 50s and 80s the majority of mothers didn’t work.

            After working an eight hour day Monday to Friday the last thing I want to do is shop.

            You are the irrational one. If I want to shop on a Sunday and the retailer wants to stay open what’s it got to do with you? I’m not telling you to shop on a Sunday so stop insulting me with your condescending comments.

            Sounds to me like you are some kind of religious zealot who wants women to stay in the home waiting on their men folk.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      The government tried to bring in late shopping on a Sunday but the SNP made sure England didn’t get it by voting it out. They have it but it seems the English aren’t allowed to enjoy it too.

      • jerry
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        @Fedupsoutherner; “the SNP made sure England didn’t get it by voting it out.


        How could the SNP have voted down a Parliamentary Bill or amendment to a Bill when 1/. the UK Govt had a working majority (that did not include the SNP) and 2/. any such Bill could well have been covered by EVEL -unless you are talking about pre EVEL days, when the govt had an even larger majority…

  11. BlakeB
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    All of this was quite obvious to the average thinking person twenty years ago- but nothing was done because the Councillors were ‘coining it’ for the Council and for themselves- so am afraid “Yellowhammer” coming down the tracks will put the final nail in it- it was all greed pure greed

  12. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Your post is so logical to day John, I wonder why Councils do not adopt it.
    Probably because they have no skin in the game, and as long as people still want to go into Town they will charge, as it increases their revenue .

    First it was charging on exit, then charging up front, now often charging up front and you need to put your registration number in as well.
    That way they sell the space more than once for part of the same period, because no one leaves it until the last minute to leave.
    Now a parking scheme where you have to register up front or set up an account, (Brighton a nightmare) how much more complicated do they want it to get.
    I guess complicated enough so that people do not understand it, so get fined (even greater income)

    Compare to France where its free in almost all towns.

  13. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Town centre is the place to go to get a haircut – er, that’s just about it.
    Whenever I fancy going into town to buy something – support local industry and all that – I generally can’t buy what I want. So I go back home and buy it on the internet anyway.

  14. tim
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    when shopping, priority is free parking, no free parking, not risking it.
    I got £100 parking ticket from Holiday INN, via parking eye, no signs. If you do not tell the receptionist your reg you get fined.

  15. Kevin
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    This might work as Conservative policy if it could be expanded to make not
    only parking free, but speech and thought as well. Studies could be
    made of the impact on GDP of being able to express the opinion that’s in your
    mind and not its 180-degree opposite, for fear of losing your job. If the
    yearly growth were estimated at 1.2%, might that get the Party’s attention?

  16. bill brown
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    According to the Sunday tmies this morning, from classified government report.
    “Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine, a three month meltdown at its ports, a hard border with Ireland and rising costs in social care, in the vent of no-deal Brexit”

    Reply Old recycledProject Fear nonsense

    • bill brown
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Sir JR,

      I hope you are right but as we have discussed before, there seems to be a lot of nonsense on both sides for the moment

    • L Jones
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      It is still quite astounding when obviously intelligent people like Mr Brown parrot the project fear nonsense. Not for nothing is the Times known as ‘Remain Central’.

      Isn’t Mr Gove’s department supposed to be addressing the issue of this spreading of fear and despondency? Why not send out a leaflet? There has been a precedent set.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink


      So naive to believe regurgitated reports . This exact report was leaked last year too.

      Heres some advice try thinking through things from first principle , it often clears things up for you

      • bill brown
        Posted August 19, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink


        You should probably apply that logic to your views on MRs Merkle and preparing for Brexit in stock levels

        • libertarian
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          hans brown

          Deutsche Bank has cut its forecast for German growth, now estimating only 0.3% GDP rise in 2019 and 0.7% in 2020. Also thinks German economy already in a technical recession.

          Bundesbank warns that Germany heading for recession in current Q3 as exports and industrial production continue to decline. Economy shrank by 0.1% in Q2, likely to shrink again in Q3.

          No stock piling

          Try fact check website

          So you see I did apply that logic and have been proved right

          Whats your excuse Bill Christian Iverson ?

  17. Richard1
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    A massive sweeping away of planning laws and the attendant bureaucracy would help.

  18. Dominic
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Bureaucracy is by its very nature parasitic. It grows when it is allowed to grow and it grows exponentially. It is a reflection of the increasing and aggressive desire to control those who bureaucracy believes need to be controlled

    The bureaucratic state has become a threat to us all. The imposition of parking fines is the tip of the iceberg of a deliberately contrived system designed to limit our freedoms and control our movements. Directing us one way and another

    Rules designed to stifle. Rules designed to control.

    We must expect this from political parties that derive great pleasure in asserting control. That sense of power can prove intoxicating for faceless politicians and secret bureaucrats

    If The Tories have one aim it should to liberate the UK and its people from oppressive bureaucracy intended to destroy and obliterate each and every freedom

    • James1
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      When are our elected representatives going to put a stop to the nanny state infringements of our freedoms including the infantilising of what we eat and drink. We are quite capable of making up our own minds as to our dietary and other requirements.

    • NickC
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Dominic, The Conservative party should be taking a close look at Konrad Adenauer’s and Ludwig Erhard’s economic policies, though not so much their admiration for the EEC.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Off topic, as Boris Johnson prepares for his predictably futile trip to Paris and Berlin and then on to the G7 meeting in Biarritz the traitors at the Sunday Times have done their best to undermine his position with their front page headline in which they rename the actual “Operation Yellowhammer” as “Operation Chaos” and report leaked official warnings of shortages of food, medicine and fuel in the event of a no deal Brexit. The same old rubbish, no doubt, outdated phrases carefully selected from some past report. But once again the same questions arise: why civil servants with a political axe to grind believe that they can leak secret or confidential information with impunity, why nothing is ever done to track them down and punish them, and now the new question of when Michael Gove’s rapid rebuttal unit is actually going to start rebutting anything, rather than falling back on the pathetic excuse that the government never comments on leaks.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Gina Miller on Sky:

      “You see today the Yellowhammer document, we now see what what we are facing when it comes to no deal.”

      Response from the government: undetectable.

      It gradually became comprehensible that as Prime Minister Theresa May was not only deliberately allowing this kind of anti-Brexit propaganda to go unanswered but was quietly adding to it, but I thought we now had a Prime Minister who was pro-Brexit and yet the government’s PR efforts have hardly changed.

      Incidentally, is Boris Johnson unaware that the EU can quote its law, the Council Decision to grant the extension, as prohibiting any negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement, or any negotiations on the future relationship?

      “(12) This extension excludes any re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement. Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act by the United Kingdom should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement, and must not hamper its implementation. Such an extension cannot be used to start negotiations on the future relationship.”

      So what is the purpose of his visits to Paris and Berlin?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        European Council Decision.

      • L Jones
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        And why are the ‘leaders’ not invited to come here? BJ has pressing work to do in his own country. I’d imagine he’s much busier than the unelected EU bunch. Let them spend the time travelling.

      • Dennis
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        The Sunday Times piece is a clever wheeze to get the UK to leave with NO DEAL! It is to convince the EU that they shouldn’t budge on anything to cause chaos of No Deal which will punish the UK suitably which is what they want .

        So the EU forces the UK to leave with no deal which is what the Times et al really want.

        Job done. (I hope the EH doesn’t read this)

        • Dennis
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          (I hope the EU doesn’t read this) The keyboard got me.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      And on the BBC Denis.

      No one though to challenge it, I would suggest that any shortages in the UK would be because the UK Government had put a blockade in place, which isn’t going to happen.

      Maybe a problem with exports.

      But if the boats are sailing then why would there be an import delay?

      • L Jones
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Haven’t the French ports already assured us that it will be ‘business as usual’?

    • Blamegame
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Denis- it’s all part of ‘operation mind conditioning’ that will inevitably have to take place in order to bring a dose of realism to the British general public for the change of thinking that is necessary. Surely you don’t think that this Operation Yellowhammer document could be suddenly leaked like this in its entirity without first getting official blessing from the very top- smells of Gove? Smacks of Government knows, Boris and Gove know, that the UK is on a hiding to nothing with our approach which will become all the more clearer this coming week and so there’s going to have to be an volte-face at some stage.

    • NickC
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, Excellent points. Where is the government’s rebuttal unit to counter Remain fake news? JR, what is going on? There is a part privatised “nudge unit” the BIT (Behavioural Insights Team). But there is also a program to counteract what the government calls “fake news” (they should know) – a £100 million 5-year commitment to counter disinformation and support independent media. Where are they? Busily creating Remain false alarms?

  20. Mark B
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    You need to shrink the size of local government first. All those lavish salaries, pensions and perks need to be paid for and upping the council tax is never popular. We also need to get rid of all the non-jobs created e.g Diversity Officers. Do all this and more and councils will be less inclined to create other revenue streams like CPZ’s.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Mark B. Yes, and when someone gets the push because they are crap at their job they need to stop creating another post for them and thus increasing the wage bill.

  21. Richard1
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I’m enjoying the Sunday Times’s ‘exclusive’ access to Project Yellowhammer docs, the horror story of what happens when we crash out over the cliff edge into the abyss of non-EU membership. presumably this was handed to them as part of the Continuity Remain resistance. I fear the public are inured to this sort of hysteria by now and would suggest more dramatic headlines. You can’t beat ‘Millions Will Die’. I think they’ll need to try that one before the month’s out.

    • Blamegame
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Just think of it in simpler terms- thousands of HGV’s lined up in the two sides of the channel, Dover and Calais, trying to squeeze through with officials and drivers getting angrier and angrier- we ain’t seen nothing yet- Harbour Masters ordering ships to turn round because the can’t cope and then ship captains being diverted up and down the coast because the home ports cannot cope either. Wow! and all of this on Sky news and BBC by the afternoon of 1st Nov

    • L Jones
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Time for Mr Gove to step up to the plate, then, surely? Will he, Sir John?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Has the rush started ? Stockpiling tins of beans, bags of sugar, canned tomatoes? Seige mentality, chemists running out of aspirins, plasters, toothbrushes? Get the packs of porridge oats in, flour etc, we might all starve!

    • Mark B
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, how very timely that this has just been leaked 😉

  22. bigneil
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with you on the 45 degree parking bays. Years ago I went into a non-local supermarket car park and was gobsmacked to see this sensible difference. None of this shunting about to try and get my normal size Ford in. Years later I was nearby and needed to call in again – only to find it had all been re-painted – -to 90 degree bays – with all the shunting to get in and out.

  23. Iain Moore
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The Labour policy on high street shops sounds very much like the confiscation of people’s property , I suppose its not surprising from a Marxist, but odd that the Conservatives haven’t challenged it.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      The Thatcher government’s Acquisition Of Land Act gives the most sweeping powers of “confiscation” as you call it, to the State, of any legislation in that respect, Iain.

  24. Chris S
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The town centre as a shopping venue is an obsolete model and any measures taken will inevitably fail.

    We should turn them into housing and centres for leisure activities and concentrate shopping in out of town centres served by good bus services, taxis and car parks.

    That will be the inevitable outcome, so why waste money and effort fighting it

  25. libertarian
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Its not just shopping

    It costs me £14 per day to park in a council car park to go to work !

    Oh and it should be tax deductable my staff paying £60 to park to come to work. If I pay it for them they get a benefit in kind tax bill

    Conservative council is closing car parks and selling them off to build on.

  26. Pud
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    One annoyance is councils that impose a charge to park at the side of the road. I don’t object to a reasonable cost for a car park (although as others have commented a high street could get more trade if parking was free). If I am parked parallel to the kerb the council had provided me with nothing but expects payment for it.

    • cornishstu
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Also, we have council resident parking schemes where they sell more passes than available spaces.

  27. BJC
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The taxpayer has been obliged to pay a fortune to install bus lanes, and are then required to pay a fortune to use them. We have Park and Rides, often on the edges of town, so it’s quicker and more convenient to take the car. Why not offer, say, fare-free weekends on the buses into the centres facing decline and stop car use altogether? Why don’t shops work together to provide a delivery service so people have the confidence to buy, not just look? Certain shops already provide this personal service which can’t be matched by the “sort it all out yourself” online “stores”.

    There are vibrant centres, usually dominated by the sort of smaller, specialist shops decimated a few decades ago when the corporates muscled in with their loss-leader policies. I believe the future of our high streets will rest with these smaller, diverse units which should be supported by policies that make them cheaper to operate. It would also be less impactive on the area if they failed.

    However, success would again attract the corporates with their policy of buying up the competition to make a quick and easy profit on the backs of our innovators, sucking the life out of the new area. We’ve got to start thinking differently, so would it be practical to, say, limit unit sizes in declining/up and coming areas to level the playing field, making it a less attractive proposition for corporates and helping to keep small enterprises in business, competing, in profit and paying their taxes (in the UK)?

  28. bigneil
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    John, if you ever need to be in Nottingham and need to park your car, do not think the Car Park on Upper Parliament street would be an aptly named place to park. If anyone looks on Google Maps, finds it, then goes down to street level view they will see a two car wide entrance/exit which looks like it is going beneath some offices. In fact it is a multi-storey, that goes downward, so no natural light at all. No cameras either apparently. The spaces are tight. The whole thing is very scary.
    Another one in the same city is circular and effectively one continuous spiral storey. The spaces aren’t even shaped sensibly. Wider on the “outside” of the bay and narrower near the continuously curving – and climbing or dropping – “road” part.
    All muli-storeys should be forced, by law – to be well lit – new LED systems reduce the electricity running costs – and to have a full cctv system instead of being a nice handy park for thieves to smash their way into your vehicle, knowing they’ll be virtually certain to walk away, no problem.

  29. Gareth Warren
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Cheaper parking would clearly help, but expensive rates and rents are more of a problem.

    Here I would not mind if the local council owned the high street since the benefit from private ownership is not visible here. Rates are far too high, but these and other car charges are needed to pay for final salary pensions and retire at 55 lifestyles.

    Government in general is far less efficient then private industry, the high street is dying under the strain of high taxes, hard to see a revival until they are lifted.

  30. David Cooper
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    A perfect illustration of how greedy local authorities of all colours allow their ingrained dislike of private transport to close their minds to the law of unintended consequences. To what extent should they be forced by national government to admit the error of their ways?

  31. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I suspect parking may well be part of the problem however, for me, it is the variety of outlets that attracts me or not to the town centre.
    Wokingham has gone from a town centre of jewellers and shoe shops to one of cafes and charity shops.
    The new town centre looks nice but, how practical will it be in a cold and damp November?
    The business rates and lease costs must put small, independent traders off on purely economic grounds.

    Local authorities no longer see themselves as servants of the people, they have become pseudo corporate bodies. They insist on calling us customers rather than residents or rate payers.
    They adopt corporate tag lines which are annoying to say the least. In my opinion, Wokingham Borough Council’s tag line should be ” There’s a fee for that.”
    I hear that WBC has purchased The Waitrose Store in Twyford as an investment for a multi million pound sum. I thought all councils were short of cash.

    Reply The new Wokingham Centre has a growing and good range of new shops and bars/restaurants and is well worth using.

    • David L
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      The businesses occupying the newly built shops in Wokingham Town have, I’m informed, very generous arrangements with WBC, arrangements not available to existing businesses. When the eighteen months of low or no rent expire will we be saying good-bye to them?

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Sir John,
      You are correct that there is a growing number of shops in the new revamped town centre.
      I suppose whether one considers it to be a good range or not, depends on what you want from the town’s shops and what your income is.
      Do I want to pay fifteen pounds for a couple of cups of coffee and a couple of sliced of cake? No, not really. Perhaps I am an old dinosaur and should be put out to grass as suggested by Andy on various occasions.
      I visit the town centre because my doctor is there. I get my fruit and vegetables from the market and some artisan bread from another market trader.
      I would love to see fish mongers and a descent butcher too. I know that one can buy such items from supermarkets but, I prefer specialised suppliers who know and care about their products.
      We don’t drive so rely on buses. We shop little and often because of carrying it home and it gets us out.
      Not everyone has access to online services nor often the will to use them.
      I suspect that, as my generation dies out, so the high street will complete it’s metamorphosis and will become an area for leisure and entertainment.

  32. margaret
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I went to a high st Car park, treated myself to a valet and general car wash, shopped for an hour and then returned. I went four flights up to be met with a notice on the pay for ticket machine which informed the public that all the parks were only accepting cash that day . So I had to trail back to an ATM at a near bank , then go into a shop to buy something I didn’t need in order to get change. This is poor communication and management should think ahead for these potential problems . If I had gone to a retail park there wouldn’t have been such messing about.

  33. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    A friend of ours recently received a fine for “incorrect parking outside of a parking bay” and her dad also received a fine from the same out of town supermarket chain.
    The friend said when she parked, the car next to her was over into her parking bay. So she had to park, over a bit, herself.

    So the supermarket chains/Parking Enforcers must be realising there may be no money made from the actual parking, but a cash-cow is ready and waiting, for all those petty parking ‘infringements’.

    I am now being extra careful and making sure I ark within the bays.

  34. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink


    A friend of ours recently received a fine for “incorrect parking outside of a parking bay” and her dad also received a fine from the same out of town supermarket chain.
    The friend said when she parked, the car next to her was over into her parking bay. So she had to park, over a bit, herself.

    So the supermarket chains/Parking Enforcers must be realising there may be no money made from the actual parking, but a cash-cow is ready and waiting, for all those petty parking ‘infringements’.

    I am now being extra careful and making sure I park within the bays.

  35. BR
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    1. First question is: Why are we trying to ‘preserve’ the High St? Should we do that at all?

    When the car replaced horse-drawn carriages, we didn’t try to preserve the horse-drawn carriage business, we accepted that the business climate changes and there will be causalities.

    These days businesses go bleating to government expecting to be put on life support. That is not healthy. Another example is EU subsidies keeping alive inefficient farms that should fail, Where are the interviews with the farmers whoa re keen to see such subsidies end?

    2. Car parking is mostly a rip-off. Many of the modern ones are fine, where yo take a ticket on entry then pay when you leave for the time used. Many still expect you to guess how long you will be then charge a ridiculous penalty when you get it wrong, resulting in over-paying in advance for time you don’t use or a massive penalty for nothing at all.

    I would like to see this made illegal. If you can’t run a car park on the basis of time used (per minute, please, not per hour / half-hour) then you should invest in the proper technology or sell it to someone who will.

    Councils should be forced by law to operate on the basis of paying retrospectively for time used.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink


      Agree pay for what you use, never know you may stay in Town for a little bit longer than originally planned, thus more income for the shop owners.

    • Pauline Jorgensen
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      The new car park machines in Wokingham Borough have a check in check out function so you can pay for precisely what you use when you leave.

  36. libertarian
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    So lets have a recap about how our politicians view things

    Cars are bad for the environment and should be used at a minimum

    Business rates are at the highest rate ever and lots of places also have BID’s on top

    Council Car Parking is being reduced and the prices and enforcement being hiked

    In rural areas public transport is fairly non existent

    So the private innovative sector invent internet shopping

    You dont use your car or transport or car parking. Order it online get it the next day

    Cue howls of rage from lefties and politicians, we have to save the high street

    We dont need to save the high street having had it killed by politicians we invented a new and better way . The so called “high street” , you actually mean town centres can be used as centres of leisure and entertainment , and if we scrapped arcane planning rules then as office space instead of retail. If councils made parking free in the evenings then we would have thriving town centres

  37. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I am following up on the suggestion of diagonal spaces with highways.

  38. BillM
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Again sound ideas from SJ. But will the Government take heed?
    It is a pity that Boris did not appoint SJ to his future policy and planning teams for SJ is a veteran and had a proper job before he entered politics. We need more persons with real-life experience running Government Departments and less of those Professional Politicians who know very little outside of Whitehall and Westminster.
    Why the 45 degrees angled parking has never been introduced is totally mystifying Are there any Town centre carparks in the country that have these angled spaces for easier parking? How many have separate entry and exit points? Not many I would suggest. Why not start now, Council Leaders? And make a good name for yourselves!

  39. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    One of the biggest problems for High Street Traders are the almost full time markets. In a town near me the market in the High Street is a 4 day event, and to add insult to injury parking is reserved for ‘market traders’ 7 days a week. The market is nothing like the original farmers markets – there are mobile butchers refrigerated vans parked in front of butcher shops obscuring them, and the van has a loud hailer. Market Traders are now mobile so go from town to town and trade all week. This is grossly unfair competition for shopkeepers. We need to have a nominated ‘Market Day’ nationwide, and anybody who wants to trade all week must rent a shop, pay rates and comply with all the legislation for producing scones etc that shopkeepers have to adhere to.

    • BillM
      Posted August 19, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      That sounds like a very inconsiderate Town Council. The local traders pay the business rates and Council Taxes where applicable le but the travelling Marketeers pay, what? A daily charge?
      The Local Councillors there should remember who actually gets to vote for them. Or not!

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    The solutions you are proposing all involve increased government spending or loss of revenue. What is the cost of parking provision? Charges should reflect that. If business rates on high street premises and shops in malls are to be reduced, the loss of revenue should be offset by charging rates on warehouse facilities. And I hope that you are not proposing increased transport subsidies. Transport in the main should be profitable, yielding taxable revenue to finance other things.

  41. Ex-Tory
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just car parking per se which the councils are making worse. They have just changed the road layout in Newbury to add half a mile and three sets of traffic lights to my journey to the town centre, with the consequent additional carbon emissions and more of an incentive to use out of town stores.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Off topic again, just look at this:

    “Minister dismisses Government’s own Brexit no-deal warnings as ‘scaremongering'”

    Has this government no idea about public relations, or is all this still the same deliberate attempt to undermine its own central policy that we saw under Theresa May?

    You can bet that Alistair Campbell would never have allowed this kind of thing.

  43. glen cullen
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    My local shopping centre was busy and the car park always full and well maintained by the council until 3 years ago, when the parking was free

    Now as a direct result of bring in a charge the area appears less busy and the car park only half full

    The traffic wardens patrol the car park every half hour with a threat of a fine and the council had further expense employing these wardens

    But the council is happy because they are generating a small income…..ever mind the effect on the local business community

    Short term planning gone mad

  44. Dennis
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    What can be done? Reduce population – get plenty of houses and parking spaces, fewer energy requirements, fewer water shotages, fewer wind farms (if at all), fewer depredations on the environment/ecosphere etc., etc.

    If you need to ask how to reduce population in user friendly ways just give a think about it. And if you really wish to know how that means you agree that it would solve many roblems otherwise you wouldn’t waste you time trying to find out.

    So obvious.

  45. Iain Gill
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Didnt you know we are all supposed to stop driving?

    You are of course correct.

    Its not just parking charges that stop me visiting such places.

    Other things like vast numbers of the foot paths being made into a dual footpath/cycle path also put me off, especially when I have young or old people with me, as its far too easy to get hit by a cyclist who thinks they now have the right to drive at 30 mph an inch from a 3 year old who has no idea that they are supposed to stay one side of a white line (which is often wearing out so that its hardly visible anyways) on the path. Places like Bristol are especially bad for this.

    Other thing is the small size of the parking spaces, versus the average size of cars.

    And of course the crime hot spots that many car parks have become. Places like Milton Keynes where the police will openly tell you how many cars are being stolen from their car parks every day, and admit they simply dont have the resources to do anything about it at all. Completely defeatist attitude to the car criminals.

    Good luck John on this one.

  46. Mike wilson
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Why do people care about town centres? I NEVER visit Wokingham town centre. There is nothing there that interests me and, if there were, I refuse to pay parking charges. Tesco, just outside the town centre does not charge me to park but I rarely go there either. I LIKE having things delivered to my house.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 19, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I’ll tell you why people care about small traders – they create more jobs than the Corporations. The Corporations you mention hardly pay tax and the sole traders pay massive taxes. The Councils compete with landlords by pedestrianising the high streets then letting them out to ‘Market traders’ who are unmonitored. Private parking in town centres have to pay business rates – so they can’t afford to allow free parking. Behind every charge is the insatiable state! If you want to be in the hands of the Corporations alone, you are going in the right direction. Don’t complain when they decide its time to squeeze you!

  47. Andy
    Posted August 19, 2019 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Shopping. How 1960s.

    Our high streets are dull. Full of boring identikit shops in identikit buildings. We need a revolution.


    Pedestrianise high streets wherever possible and ban cars.

    Allow cafes and restaurants to put tables and awnings in the middle of the streets.

    Put in children’s play areas, a small area for dog owners, facilities for cyclists and people on electric scooters (which apparently are illegal, get that fixed please).

    Concentrate on services. There is nothing I can’t buy online but I can only get my hair cut or my dry cleaning done in person.

    Have a community hub – like a post office plus but with library facilities and a council / police drop in too.

    Encourage buskers, arrange community events like summer barbecues, Christmas carols, school choirs, put on film screenings or show sports events etc.

    Make high streets people need to be or where they want to be. Places where communities can come together and fly EU and hum Ode To Joy.

  48. Stephen O
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I have seen schemes abroad where shoppers get 1, 2 or more hours of free parking provided they spend over a certain amount. The administration is dome by the otherwise under employed customer service counter.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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