Government minister Eric Pickles has criticised Sheffield’s parking fees - saying ‘draconian’ parking policies and ‘over-zealous’ wardens are driving shoppers away.
His comments come as one struggling Sheffield retailer said increased charges had cut trade by 40 per cent.
Sheffield Council recently put up on-street parking charges in the city centre by 17 per cent - and brought in Sunday and evening charges.
Only bank holiday Mondays are now free.
Mr Pickles said: “The quality of parking is important; it should be convenient, safe and secure.
“Parking charges should be appropriate and not undermine the vitality of city and town centres and local shops. Parking enforcement should be proportionate.
“Anti-car measures are driving motorists into the arms of internet retailers and out of town superstores, taking their custom with them.
“Over-zealous parking wardens have inflicted real damage on local economies and given many towns and councils a bad name.
“Town Halls need to ditch their anti-car dogma. Making it easier to park will help support local shops, local jobs and tourism.”
He was backed by traders and motorists.
Alex Mir, manager of Sa-kis on Division Street, said: “The increased charges have hit us - particularly on Sundays, which used to be free.
“Our turnover on Sundays has gone down 30 to 40 per cent since the charges were brought in. People are going to Meadowhall instead.”
Rob Prior, of Sheffield Motorists’ Forum, added: “I totally agree with Eric Pickles. The council only needs the money from parking charges because it is bloated with far too many people doing too little.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member responsible for transport, said: “We reduced charges at off-street car parks by up to half as on-street fees rose.
“Parking is an income stream, but the money goes into parking services or road safety improvements.”
On-street parking charges – how Sheffield compares
Monday-Saturday, 8am-4.30pm – £1 for every 30 minutes (£2 per hour) Monday-Saturday, 4.30pm-8.30pm – £2, or £1 for one hour Sunday, 8am-8.30pm – £1
Up to 20 minutes – £1 Up to 40 minutes – £1.80 Up to one hour – £2.60 Up to 90 minutes – £4 Up to two hours –£4.90
Monday-Saturday, 8am-6pm Up to 30 minutes – £1.50 Up to one hour – £3 Up to two hours – £5.50 Monday-Saturday, 6pm-7.30pm Up to 30 minutes – £1.50 Up to 90 minutes – £3 Sundays Up to two hours – £2
NOTTINGHAM Monday-Saturday, 8am-6pm
Up to 30 minutes – £1 £1 per additional 30 minutes Monday-Saturday, 6pm-8pm – £1 Sundays Up to two hours – £1 25p per additional 30 minutes
Daily, 8am-8pm up to 30 minutes - £1.35 up to 1 hour - £2.70 up to 90 minutes - £4 up to 2 hours - £5.40