Higher charges may drive Sheffield shoppers away

Going up: Parking charges in Sheffield.
Going up: Parking charges in Sheffield.
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DRIVERS reacted with anger today to Sheffield Council’s decision to up car parking charges and introduce Sunday fees across the city centre.

Raymond Porter, aged 66, a retired steelworker from Killamarsh, was in the city centre looking to park and said: “I usually go all the way to Kelham Island to park because it’s much cheaper. It’s already extortionate in the city centre.

“Higher parking charges are a very bad idea - it will cost more for shopkeepers and people who come to work every day.”

Brigitte Taylor, a 43-year-old housewife, agreed.

She said: “It’s a disgusting idea. We are in a recession. If the council wants to stimulate the economy it should be encouraging people to come in to the city centre, not keeping people away.”

Robert Taylor, 48, a workshop controller from Wadsley, said: “It’s just going to mean people will go to Meadowhall.”

Richard Blakemoor, 28, a mechanic from Wincobank, said: “It will mean the city centre won’t be used as much. It’ll really take away from it.”

And Jack Whitehead, a retired business owner, said: “It’s a disgrace already, just so expensive, that I tend to shop at Meadowhall.

“We already pay road tax and council tax, why should we pay for parking too?”

Sunday parking, which is currently free, will see a £1 charge applied for the whole day.

Charges in spaces on the outer edge of Sheffield city centre will be £1 per hour, up to a maximum of £8 for eight hours.

And while discounted evening parking of £2 for two hours will apply in the city centre after 4.30pm, charges will continue until 8.30pm instead of the current 6.30pm.

But the council said it is bringing down charges in its car parks.

Fees in council car parks are being reduced from £1.55 per hour to £1, £3.10 to £2 for two hours, and £6.20 to £4 for the current maximum stay of four hours.

A new £5 ticket for up to eight hours is being introduced, plus a £1 fee for Sundays, which are currently free.

The council said a small number of city centre car parks, including Wellington Street, have planning conditions which restrict how long drivers can stay - which will continue until revised permissions can be approved.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “We had a good look at our charging structure to offer a more flexible, consistent and straightforward deal, with some reductions.

“Ongoing reductions to our budget from central government mean we have to try to increase parking income.

“We need to compete with the private sector providers out there, and increase occupancy of our parking spaces, some of which are significantly underused.”

Coun Bramall said an anomaly in parking meters will be addressed. Currently motorists cannot use ‘new-style’ five and 10 pence coins so sometimes end up paying over-the-odds and don’t receive change.

The hourly cost of pay and display parking in permit zones outside the city centre is to go up from 40p to 50p an hour.

A PILOT scheme to support businesses is being considered in Broomhill, where shoppers who pay for on-street parking could receive discounts in local shops.