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Free car parking would support high street shopping, say drivers

Almost nine in 10 (86%) people would like to see local authorities make car parking free to encourage more shoppers to return to the high street.

The research indicates that free parking would incentivise more people to visit their local town

The research, carried out by independent car retailer Motorpoint among some 1,080 respondents, showed that there is still strong support for the high street among customers.

Motorpoint CEO Mark Carpenter said: “While free parking in itself won’t draw people back to the shops, it will certainly incentivise more people to make that trip into their local town and at the same time heeding the Government’s message about staying safe by avoiding public transport wherever possible.”

However, while high street retailers have been hit particularly hard during Covid-19, with major names such as Debenhams, John Lewis and Boots announcing closures, the research also shows the pressures that local authorities are under. Although removing parking fees would support the high street, it would wipe out a source of revenues for local authorities at a time when they’re also being hard hit; councils normally raise over £880m in parking fees annually according to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.