Free Car Parking in Abingdon – “recommend against”

In preparation for considering the short term free parking in Abingdon car parks this week (on the 8th of July 2011), the Vale of White Horse officers have published a helpful report.

Read it here:$

In summary:

  1. Under the proposed scheme, income will not meet expenses.
  2. Net loss is expected to be about £200,000 per year. That’s £1,000,000 in the next 5 years.
  3. There is no evidence that free parking increases footfall in town centres.
  4. If the Tories authorise using “new homes bonuses” from developers to subsidize free parking, then those funds are not available for enhancing community services or infrastructure.
  5. The financial officer “strongly recommends against” adopting the free parking scheme.

In my view, adopting the free parking scheme is a wrong action to take, given the following:

  1. There  is no evidence free car parking will be effective at revitlizing Abingdon town centre

  2. There isn’t a plan to pay for it

  3. Income to local councils is expected to be limited further by the central government, and this is an income already in place (therefore not too painful, and difficult to replace).

And finally, this free parking scheme benefits a small sub-group of the Vale population: those who drive their cars into Abingdon during daytime hours. For those of us who don’t do that, it provides no benefit, and LOTS of costs, which will have to be made-up somehow, presumably in cuts to services.


If you agree with me, write to the cabinet members today.


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