Insufficient customer parking is having a damaging impact on 40% of convenience store retailers, the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) latest Voice of Local Shops survey has revealed.

Almost 60% of retailers don’t believe that councils adequately consider the impact of their parking and highways policies on local shops, the survey of 1,100 independent retailers found.

The problem is particularly stark in London where 71% of retailers believe their businesses are being negatively affected by the lack of customer parking.

Over-zealous parking enforcement and on-street charges were also identified as highly negative influences on business.  

ACS chief executive James Lowman called for a common sense attitude to parking, which would allow customers to “pop into their local shop to pick up essential groceries without the fear of being given a fine”.

“Convenience stores are facing increasing costs in all aspects of their business, but they are also unnecessarily suffering from the environment in which they operate,” he added.

“Government and local authorities need to plan for sustainable centres and while consumer habits are changing toward ‘little and often’ purchases, over-zealous parking enforcement and a lack of space to park is pushing customers away into out of town supermarkets.”

Earlier this year local government minister Eric Pickles called for motorists to be given a grace period to park outside shops without having to pay.

His call has been welcomed by retailers in Islington, London, who claim that the area’s parking regime is crippling business.

Limited parking and steep fines were putting shoppers off and harming business, said Selim Gozubuyu, chairman of the Fonthill Traders Association.

“People are not coming because there is nowhere to park. Those who do find a meter know that they will be hit by a £70 fine if they are late by a few minutes,” he said.