On Thursday I had visited Appuldurcombe House and needed some lunch, as I had not visited Ventnor I thought it would be a good time. The botanic garden had a "no entry charge sign" but then wanted to charge me a £1 an hour to park, sticking a £1 on my lunch. If I had wanted to park along the front the charge was also about a £1, it was £3.90 for a 4 hours.
I thought blow this for a game of soldiers went to Chale Green bought my lunch in the local store and went for a walk along the cliffs at St Catherines.
On Friday I thought about looking around Ringwood or Fordingbridge but both wanted me to pay to "browse"
We oft bemoan the Tescoisation of our society but here's the thing if I head to Tesco I can park for nothing nip in get my sandwich and pop out. I can't do that in a town, I have to pay for an increasingly expensive car park. At Ringwood or Fordingbridge or Ventnor I would have bought my lunch from a local store and maybe if I had seen a book shop bought a book. The book would probably cost me more than Amazon but I often support a small independent bookshop.
As it is I headed out, in the case of Ventnor a small local shop got my trade but as is more likely these days it would have been a major retailor.
You do not want parking to become prohibitive and discourage people from visiting the town! Surely you want to encourage people into towns to spend their money, to my mind it would make more sense to have the car parks as free and use marginally increased business rates to fund them. More Shoppers in more money to spend and those browsers may spend some money, why put them off? Some authorities allow you to park free for a limited number of hours (2-3) to encourage shoppers, this makes alot of sense in my view.
As it is car parks sky rocket in price and I head out of town.