Eric Pickles has attacked local councils for “draconian” parking policies that have caused motorists to abandon the high street.
The communities and local government secretary has called on councils to reduce parking charges and ban speed bumps and parking bollards.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will issue new planning guidance to councils to make high streets more car-friendly this week.
The move echoes the sentiment of high street guru Mary Portas, who recommended a reduction in town centre parking fees in her review of the high street for Government.
Pickles said current policies are “driving motorists into the arms of internet retailers and out-of-town superstores” due to unreasonable ticketing from traffic wardens and high parking charges, The Telegraph reported.
He said: “Draconian town hall parking policies and street clutter can make driving into town centres unnecessarily stressful and actually create more congestion because of lack of places to park.
“Anti-car measures are driving motorists into the arms of internet retailers and out-of-town superstores, taking their custom with them.”
The new guidance states: “Unnecessary clutter and physical constraints such as parking bollards and roads humps should be avoided.”
The new guidance from DCLG states that parking in town centres must in future be “convenient, safe and secure”.
Pickles said: “Trying to find somewhere to park has an obstacle course in too many of our towns, cities and seaside resorts.
“Confusing and difficult car parking practices are undermining the economic vitality of the high street and tourist destinations. Over-zealous parking wardens have inflicting 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.”
More than 350 councils in England now have the power to control parking on their streets. Councils are expected to take in £635m of profit from motorists in parking charges and fines this year.