Nottingham City Council introduced parking charges in November last year, but then dropped the charges to a £1 flat rate last week following business outcry. The charges apply to Sundays and between 6pm and 8pm on weekdays. Previously it had been free to park during these hours.
Chris Reaney, of the Sir John Borlase Warren, said that he has seen Sunday trade drop by 50%. “Charging people to park their cars in the city until 8pm is ridiculous, especially on a Sunday, which has different trading hours and with buses being less frequent,” he said. “I’ve had to offer deals and reduce prices to offset the money people pay for parking.”
Chris Bulatis, managing director of Ever So Sensible Group, which runs several pubs in Nottingham, hit out at council chiefs: “They have made a tourism blunder by making the decision easier for people to go elsewhere. Customers are no longer coming into town earlier for dinner. This is also bad for staff who drive in. They may only have to pay £1, but they only earn £6 per hour.”
Licensees have now set up a petition against the charges, with more than 1,350 people signing it so far.
We are Nottingham Leisure, the business improvement district for licensed premises in the city, is reviewing car parking and believes that the council should wait for the results before imposing charges.
A Nottingham City Council spokeswoman said: “There may be many reasons for people changing their drinking behaviour and it would be very surprising if new parking arrangements were the only or most significant of these. However the council is fully aware of the concerns of businesses and has responded by announcing that it is set to bring in changes to some on-street parking charges.”