Traders say high parking charges discourage shoppers in Weymouth

Dorset Echo: ‘EXTORTIONATE’: Weymouth’s Park Street car park. ‘EXTORTIONATE’: Weymouth’s Park Street car park.

WEYMOUTH and Portland is raking in more than double the national average for parking charges.

New figures calculating the average annual bill per household for parking which include fines, permits and car park charges place the borough in the top 20 costliest areas in England and Wales. The bill faced by residents is more than twice the national average.

The average bill for residents in West Dorset is also above average.

While parking charges are an important source of income for local authorities, prices in Weymouth have long been a bone of contention with residents and businesses demanding a review amid claims it is affecting the high street and putting off visitors.

The borough froze its charges for this year and introduced incentives to attract more usage at car parks including lifting the charges overnight and on Sundays during the winter.

Figures on average bills were compiled following a Freedom of Information request to local authorities by Labour Party researchers.

It shows the borough council made £2.8million from parking last year which includes fines, the cost of permits and on and off-street parking charges. This means the authority is raking in on average £88.29 per household in parking charges making it the 17th costliest area in the country.

West Dorset made £3.6m which is £72.73 per household.

The average bill for a London household is £109.60 and for England and Wales it is £37.49.

The costliest average annual bill is in Westminster, London, at £637.31. Fiona Penny, who runs Sunflowers in Weymouth town centre, said parking charges were ‘astronomical’.

She said: “The council has introduced free parking at certain times which is a start but the day to day charges are still very high. I am finding that people are rushing around a lot more to do their shopping and not spending as much because they have to get back to the car.”

Steve Hayter of Crosby Carpets, who kicked up a storm after a shake-up of business permits last year, said he was not surprised Weymouth was near the top.

He said: “The charges are disgusting, especially along the seafront. They will end up killing Weymouth completely.”

County councillor Andy Cooke, who works in tourism and marketing, said: “I’ve always accepted the council has to charge commercial rates for parking and the data seemed to suggest that usage was growing even when charges were going up.

“But what I understand now is that car park revenue has been dropping over the last few years so the council may have reached a peak as people are put off.”

Retired businessman Ian Brooke described Weymouth prices as ‘extortionate’ and said they were ‘strangling the economy’.

He called for more incentives for people coming into Weymouth to spend money.

John Morse, chairman of the community forum which covers the Park District where residents’ parking has been enforced for several years, said permit charges were originally fixed but had been hiked up by the council.

“A lot of people in this area are on low incomes and are hit hard by these increases,” he said.

 

Technical services manager at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council, Steve Woollard, said: “The borough council has been making strides over the past year to improve parking for both residents and businesses.

“We have frozen parking charges in borough council-run car parks for the past two years as well as freezing resident parking permits this year for the first time in five years.

“A free parking trial in borough council-run car parks on Sundays and overnight has been running since November and will finish on February 28 which has so far been successful.

“It is important to remember that a lot of our parking income comes from holidaymakers and the money made from parking does help to subsidise Council Tax for our residents.

“A comprehensive parking review is currently being carried out which includes looking at parking charges and rates, with the findings expected to be presented in the spring.

“West Dorset District Council parking charges are among the cheapest in the region.

“As well as freezing our short stay parking charges for the past seven years we have also introduced free parking on Sundays and after 6pm.

“The district council is committed to ensuring district council car parks remain attractive and affordable to shoppers and visitors to towns in West Dorset.”

Comments (21)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:23am Tue 8 Jan 13

stench says...

absoloute joke!

could be a different story if it was even worth venturing into the town...
absoloute joke! could be a different story if it was even worth venturing into the town... stench

10:46am Tue 8 Jan 13

goonlinger says...

vicious spiral really...no one goes into town, shops close, rates are not paid, council income goes down
vicious spiral really...no one goes into town, shops close, rates are not paid, council income goes down goonlinger

10:56am Tue 8 Jan 13

whatever66 says...

I don't bother to go in to weymouth as I refuse to pay the hiked up charges I prefer to go in to Dorchester cheaper parking and better shops
I don't bother to go in to weymouth as I refuse to pay the hiked up charges I prefer to go in to Dorchester cheaper parking and better shops whatever66

11:17am Tue 8 Jan 13

Sidney Hall says...

^^^ +1.
^^^ +1. Sidney Hall

11:42am Tue 8 Jan 13

Isosceles says...

average annual bill per househole?
average annual bill per househole? Isosceles

6:49pm Tue 8 Jan 13

JACKC says...

This is news? I don't think so!! People have been voting with their feet (and cars) for a long time now. It seems that despite the number of times our councillors are told, they ignore the warnings. Not a lot to go to Weymouth FOR now, especially with the over inflated car parking charges. The statement that a lot of the parking revenue comes from holidaymakers is arrogant and I suspect a lot of them won't come back either!
This is news? I don't think so!! People have been voting with their feet (and cars) for a long time now. It seems that despite the number of times our councillors are told, they ignore the warnings. Not a lot to go to Weymouth FOR now, especially with the over inflated car parking charges. The statement that a lot of the parking revenue comes from holidaymakers is arrogant and I suspect a lot of them won't come back either! JACKC

7:32pm Tue 8 Jan 13

portland rebel says...

majority of local people earning less than the average wage, parking charges amongst the highest in the land = less income.
cheaper parking = more income

council as thick as slurry !
majority of local people earning less than the average wage, parking charges amongst the highest in the land = less income. cheaper parking = more income council as thick as slurry ! portland rebel

8:51pm Tue 8 Jan 13

niceonecyril says...

Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.
Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties. niceonecyril

12:00pm Wed 9 Jan 13

stench says...

niceonecyril wrote:
Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.
supporting what?

Supporting gambling, charity shops and drinking coffee...

Yeah, worth the travel to Dorch ;)
[quote][p][bold]niceonecyril[/bold] wrote: Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.[/p][/quote]supporting what? Supporting gambling, charity shops and drinking coffee... Yeah, worth the travel to Dorch ;) stench

1:23pm Wed 9 Jan 13

goonlinger says...

niceonecyril wrote:
Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.
Nope...once the engine of a modern car is warm it becomes much more efficient. Therefore if you come from Portland say, it would be cheaper to go to Dorchester than pay W&PBC parking for a few hours
[quote][p][bold]niceonecyril[/bold] wrote: Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.[/p][/quote]Nope...once the engine of a modern car is warm it becomes much more efficient. Therefore if you come from Portland say, it would be cheaper to go to Dorchester than pay W&PBC parking for a few hours goonlinger

5:02pm Wed 9 Jan 13

stench says...

goonlinger wrote:
niceonecyril wrote: Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.
Nope...once the engine of a modern car is warm it becomes much more efficient. Therefore if you come from Portland say, it would be cheaper to go to Dorchester than pay W&PBC parking for a few hours
Drive at 80mph, save even more fuel ;)
[quote][p][bold]goonlinger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]niceonecyril[/bold] wrote: Yep, it must be far cheaper to spend the cost of going to Dorchester than parking in the town you should be supporting, Numpties.[/p][/quote]Nope...once the engine of a modern car is warm it becomes much more efficient. Therefore if you come from Portland say, it would be cheaper to go to Dorchester than pay W&PBC parking for a few hours[/p][/quote]Drive at 80mph, save even more fuel ;) stench

2:43pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Portland Bill says...

Why not,for one year try free sunday parking ,may bring extra cash into Weymouth.
Why not,for one year try free sunday parking ,may bring extra cash into Weymouth. Portland Bill

9:57am Fri 11 Jan 13

satisfecho says...

Portland Bill wrote:
Why not,for one year try free sunday parking ,may bring extra cash into Weymouth.
Free Sunday parking has been running a few months now in Weymouth
[quote][p][bold]Portland Bill[/bold] wrote: Why not,for one year try free sunday parking ,may bring extra cash into Weymouth.[/p][/quote]Free Sunday parking has been running a few months now in Weymouth satisfecho

11:59am Fri 11 Jan 13

willimac says...

Absolutely no vision from our Councillors for promoting Weymouth. What was once a vibrant town has become a very sad case although I expect a lot of seaside resorts are similar.

Dorchester have got it right - think I will move there.
Absolutely no vision from our Councillors for promoting Weymouth. What was once a vibrant town has become a very sad case although I expect a lot of seaside resorts are similar. Dorchester have got it right - think I will move there. willimac

7:39pm Fri 11 Jan 13

TenBobDylanThomasHardy says...

What a nonsensical way of calculating the 'average', not all households have a car, some have two or more.
Surely a proper comparison would simply be the cost per hour averaged over the total number of parking spaces (given the differing tarrifs) in the town.
How is £1.50 to park all day is excessive?
What a nonsensical way of calculating the 'average', not all households have a car, some have two or more. Surely a proper comparison would simply be the cost per hour averaged over the total number of parking spaces (given the differing tarrifs) in the town. How is £1.50 to park all day is excessive? TenBobDylanThomasHardy

9:03pm Fri 11 Jan 13

JamesYoung says...

Get rid of the Pavilion. The money you'd save is approximately equal to the money W&P make on parking between September and April. So you could either reduce prices or have free parking in the off season (and presumably make a small saving on parking inspectors too)
Get rid of the Pavilion. The money you'd save is approximately equal to the money W&P make on parking between September and April. So you could either reduce prices or have free parking in the off season (and presumably make a small saving on parking inspectors too) JamesYoung

10:16pm Fri 11 Jan 13

EtaoinShrdlu says...

Wow, has t'Echo sped up the website? At last.

Parking, etc: All stems from the government allowing poor people to have cars, sometimes everyone in a family of five with nowhere to park at their own home let alone anywhere else. In the good old days only people who could afford it had cars and they had no problem parking anywhere because the chauffeur did it. Quite simple really.

So hike the tax on cars and retrain some of the unemployed Poles as drivers and problem solved.
Wow, has t'Echo sped up the website? At last. Parking, etc: All stems from the government allowing poor people to have cars, sometimes everyone in a family of five with nowhere to park at their own home let alone anywhere else. In the good old days only people who could afford it had cars and they had no problem parking anywhere because the chauffeur did it. Quite simple really. So hike the tax on cars and retrain some of the unemployed Poles as drivers and problem solved. EtaoinShrdlu

4:48pm Sat 12 Jan 13

sapient says...

The important issue is the review which is underway into Parking Charges. West Dorset Council seems to have a sensible policy which states: “The district council is committed to ensuring district council car parks remain attractive and affordable to shoppers and visitors to towns in West Dorset.”
Will Weymouth & Portland DC apply the same policy?
The W&PDC have failed to ensure that weymouth remains an attractive destination either for shoppers or holiday makers so it is no wonder that most people would rather shop in Dorchester. The Council has been lazy, only seeing holiday makers as a simple way of making easy money. One visit would be enough to put most holiday makers off a return visit given the present state of the town.
The Council needs a strategic long term plan to return Weymouth to the attractive family friendly resort it should be, and the strength to deliver it. I just hope that the parking review is undertaken by the councils own staff rather than by external consultants as then there might be some possibility of an understanding of the local issues involved.
The important issue is the review which is underway into Parking Charges. West Dorset Council seems to have a sensible policy which states: “The district council is committed to ensuring district council car parks remain attractive and affordable to shoppers and visitors to towns in West Dorset.” Will Weymouth & Portland DC apply the same policy? The W&PDC have failed to ensure that weymouth remains an attractive destination either for shoppers or holiday makers so it is no wonder that most people would rather shop in Dorchester. The Council has been lazy, only seeing holiday makers as a simple way of making easy money. One visit would be enough to put most holiday makers off a return visit given the present state of the town. The Council needs a strategic long term plan to return Weymouth to the attractive family friendly resort it should be, and the strength to deliver it. I just hope that the parking review is undertaken by the councils own staff rather than by external consultants as then there might be some possibility of an understanding of the local issues involved. sapient

4:44pm Sun 13 Jan 13

hellojohn says...

So the only way to reach the shops in Weymouth is by car?
So the only way to reach the shops in Weymouth is by car? hellojohn

2:27pm Mon 14 Jan 13

Candobetterthanyou says...

I've said it before and I'll say it again , this town is run by grey coffin dodgers who don't have a clue. They don't listen to our opinions or comments. This town is being flushed down the toilet. We need to take back the authority from these muppets before its too late.
I've said it before and I'll say it again , this town is run by grey coffin dodgers who don't have a clue. They don't listen to our opinions or comments. This town is being flushed down the toilet. We need to take back the authority from these muppets before its too late. Candobetterthanyou

6:55pm Mon 14 Jan 13

Hedwig says...

I live in the sticks and therefore have no choice but to drive should I be stupid enough to consider shopping in Weymouth. I found the best solution for me (and I'm sure many others having seen some figures), I shop on-line. Wey got into a vicious cycle some years ago - up parking rates, drive people out, businesses close, loss of revenue, rates go up, no new shops, people won't come back, loss of revenue, parking charges go up! Once in this cycle its very hard to break. The fact is people are just no longer prepared to pay it, as is shown on here by the amount going to Dorch. I hate the fact that the high streets are dying but councils do not help themselves and you can't beat having anything you could wish for delivered right to your door (for a delivery fee far cheaper than a parking charge!)
I live in the sticks and therefore have no choice but to drive should I be stupid enough to consider shopping in Weymouth. I found the best solution for me (and I'm sure many others having seen some figures), I shop on-line. Wey got into a vicious cycle some years ago - up parking rates, drive people out, businesses close, loss of revenue, rates go up, no new shops, people won't come back, loss of revenue, parking charges go up! Once in this cycle its very hard to break. The fact is people are just no longer prepared to pay it, as is shown on here by the amount going to Dorch. I hate the fact that the high streets are dying but councils do not help themselves and you can't beat having anything you could wish for delivered right to your door (for a delivery fee far cheaper than a parking charge!) Hedwig

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree