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Flexibility in council car park charges

Comment 30th August 2010

At the moment, council car park charges need extensive and costly consultation before they can be changed, which prevents them being raised or lowered in response to fluctuations in demand.  Demand does vary, sometimes predictably when an event is planned such as roadworks or a festival, sometimes in response to a weather forecast, and councils cannot react using charges to manage demand.

Where there is a market in car parking, such as near commuter stations, other operators' charges are often raised from time to time and the local council car park cannot respond quickly to avoid local business users or shoppers being crowded out..  It is also undesirable for a publicly funded service to undercut private operators in the same market.

The idea is to remove the requirement for consultation to allow a local council flexibility in setting these charges.

Why does this matter?

Removing this unneeded restraint on the operation of the car parking market will lead to a better matching of the supply of space and its use.

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