Councils have been urged not to kill off the high street by increasing parking charges. 

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) has warned against increasing costs for parking in town centres, saying that it will take valuable trade from local businesses.

The warning comes as local councils across the country including Burnley, Nottingham, Shrewsbury and Cornwall have proposed parking charge increases of up to 150% in some cases. The councils involved claim the hikes are necessary in order to compensate for cuts made in local government funding.

“Simply putting up parking charges might seem like an easy and convenient way for local authorities to plug their budget shortfalls,” said FPB head of campaigns Jane Bennett. 

“However, it could well prove to be a false economy as it will drive even more trade out of town centres, leading to more empty units, fewer visitors and lower amounts raised through business rates.”

She added that increased parking charges will push consumers towards out-of-town developments. “By putting up charges, by as much as 150% in some cases, these councils will give people another incentive to shun their independent local shops in favour of identikit out-of-town supermarkets and retail parks.”