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Six Businesses Speak About On-Street Parking

David Blake randomly selects six businesses in the city centre and gets the same answer

Written by . Published on April 8th 2013.

Six Businesses Speak About On-Street Parking

AFTER  we posted this story last week about the council's 'consultation' over increasing central Manchester on-street parking charges (with minor reductions in peripheral areas) Confidential talked to six businesses.

It’s completely killed off our late night and to some extent Sundays. I’d say on a Sunday our footfall has dropped by 30-40%. That’s a lot. 

These were chosen entirely at random.

They were not businesses that had featured previously on Confidential offering negative opinions, but they were consistent.

They all agreed to disagree with council policy on early evening and Sunday on-street parking. 

Dean Alexander, Manager, Vivienne Westwood, 47 Spring Gardens: 

These kind of changes are definitely going to force people out of town, I’m 100% certain. It costs enough as it is, if it’s going to cost £6 to come in and shop for a couple of hours people won’t bother, they’ll go somewhere else, especially on a Saturday and Sunday. That’s why people do end up going to places like the Trafford Centre where parking is free. A lot of people are struggling anyway in the current climate and it’s just not going to help at all. 

Robert Harrison, Manager, High and Mighty, 55 King Street: 

It’s too expensive as it is, they need to cut it. We have so many people complain about the parking here. People have stopped coming in to the city centre, they’re going over to our Liverpool shop instead, simply because they can park there for free. 

We used to open up on a late night Thursday because people could park for free after six and come have a good look round without rushing. But it’s a waste of time now because no one comes in after half-past-four. 

We get people here who want to spend more time in the shop but can’t because of the parking. The parking attendants around here are horrendous, they won’t even give you a couple of minutes. I parked out here a couple of weeks ago because of an alarm call-out and even though they knew I was in the store, they still towed the car. Without coming in and checking, even though the police were here.  

It’s killing the city centre, they should want to get people in. We’ve got shops all over the country and outside of London this is the most expensive place to park. 

It’s completely killed off our late night and to some extent Sundays. I’d say on a Sunday our footfall has dropped by 30-40%. That’s a lot. 

The Arndale have realised that they need to drop parking charges to get people in there, why haven’t the Council realised this for us on King Street and around here? They’re totally out of touch. The problem is that they don’t speak to the retailers. They have virtually no contact with us. 

Our friends from Rosso, over the road, say Saturday night trade has dropped because of the parking. I went for a meal there last week and sat in my car for 15 minutes until 8pm so that I didn’t have to pay for parking, it’s just so expensive. 

Damien McClung, Magma Books, 22 Oldham Street NQ: 

We don’t get enough help as retailers around here anyway. So making people pay more to park to shop, especially on a Sunday when it used to be free is going to do us no favours at all. 

I don’t think that public transport links are as good as the council claims they are, most people still drive in to town so these changes certainly don’t help us. 

Female Manager, Bar, Northern Quarter: 

I don’t want to be named on this because to be honest the council and the licensing authority can make our life hell over various things but without a doubt the charges have affected our business. The council are shooting themselves in the foot really because it’s driving people out of town to the Trafford Centre. 

It’s really effecting live acts we get in as well, we have our sound checks at 5pm but the free parking doesn’t start until 8pm, so they’re throwing their stuff out of the van and then having to drive around for a few hours. They don’t get to properly practice. It’s a ridiculous situation.

Paul Rogers, Manager, Note, 34 Tib Street NQ: 

The council should be doing everything they can to help out small independent businesses. At the Trafford Centre which is mostly large chain stores, you can park there for free. Why should they get the help? 

I don’t just think people will be driven out of town, I think shoppers will also just start to spend more money online. Rather than come in to town and have to pay for parking. 

I really hope it’s not going to stop shoppers too much but it’s definitely not going to help us. A few of our customers now just park in the loading bays and then end up with a ticket. They’re only in town for 5 minutes, they know what they want but end up with a ticket. So they’re going to stop coming aren’t they? 

I went to Leeds a couple of weeks ago and managed to park in the city centre all day, for free. I think Leeds is doing a lot more for independent shops, Manchester’s independent shops suffer badly because of things like this. 

To some extent I think it’s the council’s retribution for us not voting for their congestion charge thing a couple of years back, which would have killed the city centre. They said that if we voted no they’d have to hike up parking charges and that’s what they’re doing. 

Natalie Brockhurst, Manager, The White Company, 19 King Street: 

It’s not so much the amount of shoppers that are coming in because we are quite a busy shop usually. It’s more the amount of time those people are spending in here. Shoppers are rushing in and out to quickly pick something up or return something. They’re nipping in to the city centre for half an hour, not spending a few hours shopping anymore. Increasing the price of parking is only going to make this worse.

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51 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

StephApril 8th 2013.

We've all been saying for years that we're stuck with this Labour council, well perhaps we now have an issue for somebody to stand on which could help make a difference.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Manc GuyApril 9th 2013.

That's just brilliant. RIGHT ON STEPH!!!

Manc GuyApril 8th 2013.

"It’s really effecting live acts we get in as well, we have our sound checks at 5pm but the free parking doesn’t start until 8pm, so they’re throwing their stuff out of the van and then having to drive around for a few hours. They don’t get to properly practice. It’s a ridiculous situation."

No, what is ridiculous is that the live acts aren't factoring a parking fee into the cost of hiring them in the first place. They could pay up to 8pm. Let's face it, if it was free, they'd probably not get a space anyway.

Why don't you all just agree that regardless of your income and the value of the vehicles you own or drive, none of you wants to pay one penny to park anywhere, any time. I agree, who doesn't want something for nothing? That'll never happen because it's just another way of taxing car owners.

None of you seem to be bothered that disabled car owners get to park for free! They own cars just like you [often expensive ones too], so why are they exempt from paying to park? The location makes sense, but making it free too?

Leon RushworthApril 8th 2013.

It would be nice if shops gave you parking tokens for every £10 spent in the place to offset the parking costs that could be used in the machines even if they where worth 50p per token or the council

AnonymousApril 8th 2013.

Shopping by car in a crowded city centre is essentially a hobby.

Nobody needs to do it. It is a personal choice.

If you can't afford a hobby, find a cheaper one.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Steve5839April 9th 2013.

Drive to an out of own shopping centre, use more fuel or kill a town - sounds like a great choice.

SAZKApril 11th 2013.

This is a ridiculous argument. Seeing as its a hobby should we all just do all our shopping online and close every shop on the high street?! The council should be supporting people who are trying to make a living, not forcing businesses to close and lay off staff

buckoboyApril 9th 2013.

How is it a hobby? Its a necessity for many people. Regardless of how much or little people want to spend, the council should not be the ones who dictate that.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 9th 2013.

Why is driving into the city to shop or eat a necessity? That's what we're talking about here aren't we, not emergency visits to the GP or vet?

The council can dictate the cost of parking if they own and are responsible for the roads and streets can't they?

JacobApril 9th 2013.

Criticise people who come into town by car if you want, but these subjects of criticism are the life-blood of the indie shops we're wanting to preserve. The council is plainly prioritizing parking fee income over the health of shopping streets such as King St. The effects of this thinking are plain to see.

AnonymousApril 9th 2013.

I dashed into House of Fraser recently to buy an enagement present which I had already chosen and then dashed back to where I had parked my car on a near deserted street . . . only to find that even though I was no more than two minutes after the time on the ticket (not helped by the fact that the clock on the meter wasn't even correct) the traffic warden had already started writing a ticket and said he would now have to issue it ! I for one will not be coming back to shop in Manchester. Does this council want to decimate the city?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Steve5839April 9th 2013.

Just as an aside, if you drive off without them puting the ticket on your car, you do not have to pay the fine - dont argue drive away!!!!

Manc GuyApril 9th 2013.

How much 'dashing' did you need to do ANON? You parked on a nearby street to Kendals and purchased an item from the store you'd already chosen. You could have done that 'dash' well within half an hour. How much time did you pay for to park?

AnonymousApril 10th 2013.

you can write and contest, you should be allowed a 5 minute grace time per hour parking (so if it's a 2 hour bay, 10 mins) to allow for slight discrepancies in your watch v machine v attendants watch etc. just write a letter and get it cancelled. I've done this when I've been unfairly given a ticked. Also they can cancel a ticket once they've started writing it as well, that's nonesense (straight from the mouth of someone who is a parking attendant in case you think I'm lying) :)

Simon CritchleyApril 9th 2013.

Again, Some might say my fault, parked up 4pm to walk round the Markets at Christmas paid i think £5 2 hour parking and set the alarm on my phone,
Returned 6.08pm Ticketed.. I did not see the attendant, Ticket was timed at 6.06pm. What was he doing? Standing waiting for my ticket to run out,
Only time i came onto Manchester last year, Wont be seeing me again..

6 Responses: Reply To This...
Manc GuyApril 9th 2013.

"Wont be seeing me again.."

Yet you post on this website? How is the boycott going by the way?

...and yes, I would say it was your fault. You got a ticket dude.

StephApril 9th 2013.

Simon, ignore the comment above from the odious MG.

In answer to your question, yes they do stand and wait for your ticket to run out. I often see wardens standing on my street for a good 10 minutes waiting to issue tickets.

Manc GuyApril 9th 2013.

Odious? Awwww...STEPH that's not nice :(

The thing is SIMON...STEPH thinks the whole world revolves around him/her.

...and as for;

"I often see wardens standing on my street for a good 10 minutes waiting to issue tickets."?

Dude!...Get yourself a hobby!!!

AnonymousApril 10th 2013.

I went shopping on Sunday, streets were empty, went for lunch, went over parking by 20mins got ticket, will not be going back to city center ever again. Manc Guy you are indeed odious.

Manc GuyApril 10th 2013.

You were over your parking by twenty minutes...and you got a ticket? And your point is?

"will not be going back to city center ever again." Hark!...is that another King Street retailer I hear crying?

"you are indeed odious." Awww...have you been talking to STEPH? Perhaps you are one and the same anyway.

StuartApril 10th 2013.

Steph, you are right they do stand and wait for the ticket to run out when it's very near its time! I see it everyday from my office window. It's disgraceful behaviour but not unexpected from a council that's all about the money!

AnonymousApril 9th 2013.

You CAN park for free on Saturdays and Sundays as long as you stay out of what the Council has termed the City Centre Parking Zone (or something like that). Learn where the boundaries are (it's not huge), park just outside it, and you will be fine.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Steve5839April 9th 2013.

Its easier to drive to an out of town shopping centre, if MCC wish to have a deserted town, they are going about it the right way. As I have said before, they have killed Altrincham and MCC do not seem to have grasped the issue - save to say the old mantra of screw the motorist.

YvonneApril 9th 2013.

I used to frequently shop in the City centre on a Thursday evening but when parking charges where increased again i decided it would better value to shop at the Trafford Centre. I also stopped going to the theatre as much because parking charges added to the cost of the ticket made it far too expensive and public transport after 10pm is, i found, very unreliable. The Council really do seem to be trying to kill off the City Centre.

Manc GuyApril 9th 2013.

For those that post a complaint on this thread, it would be an idea to explain why you choose to drive to the city in the first place and, what public transport is available to you.

To just say parking costs money that you're not prepared to pay, as an example, doesn't make sense. Pad out your reason folks.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasApril 9th 2013.

I live in the city centre and need a car for work (I'm sometimes on-call). I don't need a car to get to work on a daily basis, but once I have one I can't afford to leave it parked at home whilst getting public transport.

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

.... and here i am as promised.


The main reason I choose to drive to the city centre rather than use public transport is , I suspect, the same as many other car users. Simply put the public transport system is crap. I live in close proximity to a tram stop, train station and bus routes and still choose to drive. Allow me to clarify why -
1) journey time - what takes 20mins in a car takes over double that on a bus and tram, train takes only 25mins so not so bad ( thats if its not cancelled or late which happens regularly). However add waiting time at either end of your journey and suddenly you find your 2 hour trip into the city takes 3 or more hours.
2) If you do decide to bite the bullet and get on public transport you are forced to endure a journey sat crammed in a metal box on wheels with other people`s BO, farts, coughing, sneezing and crappy music blaring from mobile phones.
3) cost - if i have a friend coming to town with me its actually cheaper to drive and park than it is to buy 2 return tickets on any of the public transports.

In fact unlike most people on here I would willingly pay double for parking if it meant my journey was made quickly, in comfort and not sat next to a drooling bunch of mouth breathers.

As a rule I always park in an NCP simply because I know there'll be spaces, I Dont need to drive around looking for an on street space and I dont have to return after so many hours to put more on the meter.
"So why am I against the parking increase?" you may ask.
simply put, its a matter of principle. I could handle it if Manchester council just came out and said " look folks, the coffers are bit shallow so we're putting up parking charges to get some extra income. Frankly we dont care about the effect on small city centre businesses" Honesty I can respect, what annoys me is the constant lies about " improving traffic flow/ reducing congestion etc" when it is plain to all and sundry that the centre doesnt suffer from congestion except for at rush hour or match days, neither of which would be improved by increasing charges.

I could go on but cant be bothered.
rant over

Lisa KenyonApril 10th 2013.

I think the parking charges are absolutely abhorrent, I don't own a car but I live in the city centre and would, for example, like my elderly parents to be able to visit me in their car on a Sunday without having to pay through the nose for parking, they both struggle to walk so need to park as close to me as possible, they are both on pensions. I have (as it appears most others also have) no qualms with peak time midweek parking charges but after 6pm and all day Sunday? Really? It's just the greedy and shortsighted Council trying to make money and not giving a **** about residents or small businesses.

Manc GuyApril 10th 2013.

@ Carl...my commute via train is 45 minutes door to door each way. It would take that same amount of time just to drive to my nearest car park in town, so a bus would take even longer. I'm a fifteen minute walk from a major supermarket, I drink when I go out in town, my last train home is before midnight and if I miss that I can get a bus, so the obvious choice for me is to just not own a car. Comparing the train to the full cost of car ownership and parking, and I'm saving tons.

As for your second point...you make it sound like you'd be risking life and limb. My trains are rarely late or cancelled during rush hour. The trains are busy then, but I always get a seat. Sure it can be a squeeze when you're sat next to a chubber, and the commuters far outnumber any scrotes or the unwashed that might be there, but it's not a long journey and I can put up with it. There's loads of available seats off peak and the journey's slightly quicker too.

It's clear that you'd rather not mix or be in close proximity to your fellow commuters and world citizens, as you'd much prefer to cram yourself into your own 'metal box on wheels'. I've no doubt that's the same reason the majority of suburb to city commuters use. That's certainly the reason some of my colleagues use.

I'd say that mindset has a negative impact on society, as many people aren't communicating like we did in the past nor in those larger numbers. Nobody seems to want to talk to strangers any more, or even ask for directions in the street. Children are driven and escorted everywhere. There's a sort of social paranoia out there because of it all.

With your third point, if your friend's travelling with you it's half the price [less than two quid] after 6.30pm to travel by train in Greater Manchester. It's less than eight quid for the two of you before then. And, you don't have to think about parking and can stay as long as your last train is. I'm sure your buses and trams would be similar.

SAZKApril 11th 2013.

For me the issue is the price of public transport. The buses are unreliable and not cheap - at about £5 for a day ticket, if more than one person is going into town it is cheaper to drive and park.

The problem is instead of making public transport more affordable, they are making the parking more expensive. I agree with measures to deter car usage to an extent, but there needs to be affordable and convenient public transport to compensate.

Manc GuyApril 9th 2013.

"but once I have one I can't afford to leave it parked at home whilst getting public transport."? That's madness STEPHEN! You can't afford to leave 'your' car parked at 'your' home? Madness.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 9th 2013.

The same situation I'm in and yes I can't afford to leave my car parked at my home. When I bought my home I could, but I no longer can.

Stephen DouglasApril 10th 2013.

If I left it at home, I'd have to pay for parking all day and would also have to pay for the train ticket. Those together cost quite a bit more than simply driving to work each day. It's not that I can't afford it, it's that I can't justify the extra expense when a cheaper option applies.

Stephen DouglasApril 10th 2013.

Just to put some numbers on it, I fill up about once a fortnight and it costs around £40. So approx £4/day for petrol. When I used to get the train a few years ago, a monthly season ticket used to cost £80. So again, £4/day (gone up since but I don't have figures). On top of that, all day parking would be at least £2.50 per day, or £650 a year extra. And that was based on rail fares from 5 years ago! And that's not taking into account the lack of flexibility, the extra walk from the station to my place of work, etc.

AnonymousApril 10th 2013.

Mmmmm I need to get me some of that city centre livin'.

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

@manc guy - do you ever post anything useful, intelligent or constructive or do you just spend your day thinking up rubbish just to get a rise out of people? cant understand your so called " hero" status, it must be for the number of posts you make rather than their content because the sum value of their content is worthless. if you want to troll just go to twitter instead and leave these pages for people with something to actually say.

I will respond to one post you have made that, although designed to irritate people with its pointless baiting, at least asks a slightly sensible question. you'll find my response on the post in question

7 Responses: Reply To This...
Manc GuyApril 10th 2013.

"do you ever post anything useful"?

Compared to many that post rants, I would have to say yes.

One thing though CARL, my banter might get a rise out of some people, but I don't call people names, insult or pigeon -hole them, like the digs I sometimes receive.

Worthless indeed!!!

"leave these pages for people with something to actually say." Haha...have you read a lot of the posts on ManCon?

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

fair point manc guy you`re not the only one who posts crap on here. Its prob just your memorable name that makes you stand out.
Dont think ive called you names or insulted you unless you take my calling your posts worthless as insulting but thats down to you. my subjective view is that youve never/ rarely write anything worthwhile on here, if you take that as an insult thats your choice.

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

well I did respond already but it hasnt updated. Ho hum.
In fairness to you Manc Guy you are not the only one to post crap and troll these pages, I think its your name that makes you stand out.
dont think ive ever name called you or insulted you though ( at least not purposefully) my subjective view is simply that you rarely if ever say anything useful, preferring instead to annoy people who are trying to have a serious discussion. if you choose to take insult to that that is entirely up to you

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

3rd times a charm at replying to you .....

in fairness to you there are plenty of people who post on here just to irritate people or troll. I suspect you stand out to me because of your distinctive name.

I dont think ive ever called you names or insulted you ( at least not on purpose) its just my subjective view that I rarely if ever read a post from you with any worthwhile content. If you are insulted by that, theres not much I can do about it.

i suggest you try to be more constructive with your posts rather than just getting peoples backs up and any insults you do currently receive should die down

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

I also suggest I start using an alias on here as many other users do rather than posting my full name every time. Although at least no one can suggest im hiding behind a pseudonym when I rant

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

haha sods law, now all 3 posts have arrived simultaneously .
my point is made 3 times over :P

Manc GuyApril 10th 2013.

I have a stalker :)

After I post CARL, I always log out, delete my browsing history and then refresh the page. Even then, the website doesn't always update straight away. From experience, if it's posted it will have been posted. That's assuming Schofield hasn't deleted it.

Carl PriestleyApril 10th 2013.

is there anything more frustrating than when you write a response to a post , press the "post my rant" button, the page refreshes and your post isnt there?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasApril 11th 2013.

Hitting ctrl & f5 seems to do the trick for me.

DrakeApril 11th 2013.

Unfortunately six pieces of anecdotal reportage does mot evidence make. The business owenrs are attempting to prove a negative: why people have allegedly stopped coming to their shops/bars. But how do they ask the people who are no longer coming? A logical impossibility.

And, oddly, Mancon's long and pointless campaign against the charges (in the face of loads of evidence of a continued boom in the city centre) just provides business owners with a ready tale to tell. It also actually makes things worse as people fear the parking situatiom is far worse than it actually is.

So, what are the footfall figures? What are the spend figures? How do you put your tale of the NQ suffering against the recent MEN tale of it booming (and evidence of anyone visiting on a Fri or Sat night)?

Carl PriestleyApril 12th 2013.

@ manc guy - i did write a long a response to ya yesterday and when it didnt show up i jnust assumed it'd load up eventually. Well, im here today and it still hasnt posted, so I cant be bothered to write it all again but just to say thaniks for your long response. It was much more enjoyable to read than your snipey comments of old. just disapointed my reply didnt post. ah well, no doubt we'll knock heads over some other manchester related sotry . til then cheers

Carl PriestleyApril 12th 2013.

also apologes for the spelling errors. typing in haste

Carl PriestleyApril 12th 2013.

and apologies for misspelling apologies above

AnonymousMay 3rd 2013.

It's hardly brain surgery is it. Cars are used as the proverbial cash cow in the UK, and the parking charges are a ridiculous symptom of the problem that will eventually kill most inner cities. <br /><br />Most other European cities (that Manchester is so fond of comparing itself with) offer cheap public transport (ie &#163;3 for a 24 hour ALL-public transport ticket - yes, bus, tram AND train) and provide park and ride facilities. Even Chester can manage a decent park-n-ride system. This encourages people to leave their cars outside the city, use an INTEGRATED transport system (which Manchester again lacks) and coincidentally reduce traffic. <br /><br />Manchester isn't competing with other European cities - it's simply trying to squeeze as much money out of the motorist without providing alternative solutions.<br /><br />I wonder whether the increased parking prices have covered the drop in business rates from the empty units.

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