THE chairman of a group challenging current parking legislation has spoken out about the lower number of parking tickets handed out this year as compared to last.
David Denny, the chairman of the Parking Reform Group for Uttoxeter has suggested that the reason for the lower number of penalty notices issued is that there are less parking wardens in town.
He also suggested that dangerous parking, along with parking charges, has had a detrimental effect on the town centre.
East Staffordshire Borough Council has challenged the idea that parking charges discourage shoppers, and rather that it is the lack of variety of shops.
David Denny, chairman of the Parking Reform Group said: “Traffic wardens are not here as often as they used to be.
“It was reported that they reduced the numbers of wardens last year - so if there are less, and Uttoxeter is patrolled less, then this is the main reason for the staggering reduction in issued tickets - it’s not evidence of success at all.
“It is further evidence that the parking strategy isn’t working, when the local police decide to start their own parking campaign to stop the ‘parking free-for-all’ in the town centre.
“We only get free for all’s when the usual policing by wardens is absent.
“So it seems that not only has the parking strategy helped killed off the town centre visitors, but is no effective in reducing dangerous and antisocial parking, something else which does not help the town centre.
“The much vaunted successful parking strategy in Uttoxeter has failed abysmally, even worse it contributes to the decline in the local town centre economy at a time when we need to fill the streets and ensure that Uttoxeter’s new developments are successes - empty streets do not attract investors.
“It is time parking for one thing is reviewed and led and supported by local councillors and our borough council representatives by lobbying hard for change now - there is a point beyond which the town centre is unlikely to recover.”
An East Staffordshire Borough Council spokesman said: “The parking tariffs were reviewed earlier this year after a comprehensive consultation.
“The key changes made were to remove the 30 minute short stay bays, the one hour charge and make the minimum two-hour stay for £1 to encourage people to come into the town and stay longer, thus supporting local businesses.
“The last parking tariff changes made prior to these, was in 2007 as the council strives to keep parking charges at a reasonable level.
“The parking charges are kept to the minimum increase possible and as a result have kept the free parking on a Sunday.
“With regard the relationship between edge of town and town centre parking shoppers will choose more on what purchases they intend and which shops they need to visit.
“Evidence would suggest that it is the type and variety of shops that attract customers and not that they are deterred by parking charges.”