Local government secretary Eric Pickles has revealed plans to curb town centre parking fees in an effort to encourage people to shop in their town centres.  

Pickles told The Telegraph he wanted to tackle the “parking nightmare” faced by families and local firms.   “These parking restrictions have hit small shops the hardest, creating ‘ghost town’ high streets which can’t compete with out-of-town supermarkets.”

Critics have suggested councils may use this as a revenue raiser as the government cannot force councils to cut parking fees. 

Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “Letting local authorities have the freedom to provide the parking facilities which will best support their town centres is the right thing to do.

“It’s short-sighted to treat parking as a revenue raiser. High fees - which take advantage of shoppers - risk driving away business from town and city centres. Putting up parking charges may look like an easy option for cash-strapped councils but they shouldn’t be ignoring the wider impact on their communities and economies of the damage higher charges cause to town centres.”