08:00 Tuesday 06 November 2012

Businesses up in arms at car park price increase


BUSINESS owners in Burton are furious as their customers are driven away by the price of a nearby car park.

NCP Riverside Centre Car Park, in High Street, Burton
NCP Riverside Centre Car Park, in High Street, Burton

The NCP Riverside Centre Car Park, in High Street, was fitted with a new ticket machine — but it is one that only offers a 24 hour rate at the price of £3.50.

Customer used to be able to pay £1.80 to leave their vehicles for an hour, but since the tariff was scrapped, businesses based in High Street have seen a knock-on effect.

Gina Williamson, a director at fancy dress hire shop Let’s Party Let’s Dance, said: “It’s making a big difference to the amount of custom we’re getting. Even with it being Halloween last week, we’ve still lost money.

“It’s difficult enough at this end of town but this is just ridiculous and it’s affected the whole street. The car park used to be full most of the time, now we’re lucky if it’s half full.”

Ms Williamson said that people are now parking illegally to avoid paying the all-day charges.

“People who just want to pop in for something don’t want to pay £3.50, so some have been parking on double yellow lines or parking in the car park without paying because it’s too expensive,” she said.

Sonia Wilson, manager of Polly Hodge hair salon, said that although they had not lost business, they had been left with a lot of unhappy clients.

Mrs Wilson said: “Our clients are now having to park further away but some of our elderly clients are finding it hard.

Some ladies just come in for a trim which only takes half an hour and they don’t want to pay that much for parking.

“It’s affecting a lot of people in the street because people are pulling in, seeing the price and turning around.”

Brian Devonshire, head of operations for NCP car parks, told the Mail that the hourly tariff was removed due to low usage.

He confirmed that it would now be reinstated after complaints were made by businesses in the street — but it could take up to eight weeks.

Mr Devonshire said: “When we upgraded the machines there was a review of the usage, and we found that not many people were using the hourly rate.

“We will now be reinstating a onehour and two-hour rate and hope that it will demonstrate that we have reacted and are supporting local businesses.

“The software for the machine will now have to be rebuilt and will take a maximum of eight weeks, but we are aiming to get this done much sooner.”

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