REVEALED: Fears Doncaster town centre is being 'killed off' by high parking charges after council rakes in Â£3m
Fears have been raised that high parking charges are 'killing off'Â Doncaster town centre - after it was revealed the council raked in more than Â£3 million from motorists in recent years.
The sum raised by the authority has today led to calls for the council to either reduce paring charges or increase the number of free spaces.
Motorists, market traders and an organisation which represents small businesses all raised concerns that parking charges were causing people to desert the town centre - which is having a knock on effect on trade.
The 59-year-old, who has worked as a fishmonger in Doncaster for 46 years, said: "We have proposed a few times that the council should make it free to park in the short stay shoppers' car parks after 2pm Monday to Saturday to encourage customers to stay longer. To make their money back they could introduce charges on Sundays.
"Trade is down in all town centres due to a number of factors including parking charges and out of town shopping centres where it is often free to park. Something needs to be done."
Kevin Donnelly, the Federation of Small Businesses' leader in South and East Yorkshire, added: “The provision of accessible parking is integral to the success of these local shops and businesses. The council needs to listen to these concerns.”
The figures were revealed through a Freedom of Information request to Doncaster Council.
They show the authority raised just over £1m from charging people to use their car parks in each of the last three financial years dating back to 2014. The authority has 2, 987 spaces spread across 16 car parks.
The costs for each car park vary. It costs £8 to park for four hours in College Road but in Chappell Drive East and West it is only £2.50 for over four hours.
Numerous motorists also took to Facebook to vent their frustration over the charges.
Fiona Booth, said: "Why pay a small fortune to park when out of town you can park for free? No free parking is killing the town off.
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"It is a shame as Doncaster has a lot to offer I believe, but truthfully who wants to pay nearly £10 to park for a day?"
Emily Jane Machin added: "You don't have to pay for parking in Meadowhall so why should us Doncaster people pay for parking in the Frenchgate?."
Robert Compton posted: "Maybe they should offer some kind of voucher or discount with paying parking customers, for example 10 per cent off at Costa or McDonalds."
Gill Gillies, assistant director of environment at Doncaster Council, said: “Compared to neighbouring towns, our parking charges are actually very reasonable.
"The parking in town is also high-quality, with all of our council-owned car parks being park-mark approved, and an increasing amount offering cashless payment options fit for modern life.
“We understand why people suggest free parking as a way to encourage visits to Doncaster, but evidence shows that free parking is often used predominantly by commuters and doesn’t actually help to create a more vibrant town centre.”
Financial year and money raised by Doncaster Council through parking charges
2014/2015 - £1, 073, 344.62
2015/2016 - £1, 148, 613.48
2016/2017 - £1, 093, 846.92