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Councils reject Government calls to cut town centre parking

COUNCILS are rejecting Government calls to slash the number of town centre parking spaces for fear of driving away businesses, according to a new report. One of the most comprehensive surveys into traffic congestion has revealed that only one in 10 local authorities is looking to reduce parking levels, while one in four is actually looking to increase the number of spaces available.

The survey of 123 town and city councils by property consultant Healey and Baker comes in the wake of the Government's transport white paper which called for a reduction in the number of urban parking spaces, along with the imposition of road tolls and taxes on private workplace parking spaces. Many of the councils questioned - controlling 73% of city and town centre car parks - were unenthusiastic at the prospect of such measures and the impact they would have on business.

Neville Moss, author of the report 'Town Centre Accessibility', said: 'If tolls and public transport become too dominant on the major access routes drivers could be seriously disadvantaged, reducing the town's attraction and potential viability.' One of the key ways the report suggests improving town centres without turning people away is making park and ride schemes more attractive to commuters. Only one in four of the 123 councils questioned operates a park and ride scheme, and of these only 20% said the system had made a big impact on congestion.

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