Sunday Telegraph – check the facts please

I was disappointed and surprised to see a half page spread, promoted by a reporter written piece on another page, in the Sunday Telegraph Business section, making an unsubstantiated claim on car parking charges and containing inaccurate information regarding business rates.

The first of the claims made by Lee Manning, a top gun in the administrator business, is that councils are killing the high street through excessive car parking charges. The article, repeated at the bottom of this page, clearly suggests otherwise.

The mis-information is even more surprising, given that this man is supposedly an expert in closing down businesses that are in financial trouble. One of the core costs to any business is the business rates. Yet Mr Manning seems to be unaware that the level of business rates is determined by central government and only collected on behalf of central government by local government. The reporter written piece, quotes Mr Manning as suggesting that councils don’t care if shops close down because, “…landlords have to pay the councils the rates for the property. This means there is little or no financial impact on authorities if retailers go bust”.

Report finds parking charges are not responsible for decline of high streets

There is no conclusive evidence that parking tariffs are influencing the decline of high streets or town centres, according to a new report.
The report, entitled ‘Re-think! Parking on the high street’, finds there is no clear relationship between parking charges and the amenities on offer in an area. However, it did conclude that further research is required to ensure parking provision is planned effectively.
Research found that in 2012, 94% of all parking acts were free. Of the remaining 6%, over 82% cost less than £3 and 50% cost less that £1.
The report has been produced by the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM), the British Parking Association (BPA), Springboard Research Ltd and Parking Data & Research International (PDRI).
BPA director of policy and public affairs, Kelvin Reynolds, said: ‘This report shows the need for parking to be managed intelligently to work as intended, sometimes requiring effective management. All of this costs money and therefore, we believe that so called ‘free parking’ is not viable.’
The report also highlighted that it is unlawful for local authorities to generate income as an objective of parking management, and any surplus made is ring-fenced by law.

Local press helps the mall monsters stick it to our town

A nasty piece of propaganda from the ‘shopping mall’ industry was printed in today’s Lincs Free Press and cannot go unchallenged. Having penned a letter criticising the newspaper for printing it, I thought I’d hedge my bets by repeating it here.

Dear sir,

I write to express my disappointment that you should print propaganda from the commercial property industry, that has nothing good to say about our town – Property page 17 July, ‘High Streets…can’t cope’.

The mix of fact and totally biased opinion, was unremitting negative and suggested every high street was destined to be annihilated by the shopping centres Mr Nick Round makes his living from promoting.

This was neither freedom of speech, nor simple advertising, although I’m sure Mr Round’s company was more than pleased to get the free advertising. Neither, given its position in the newspaper, was it personal opinion and it certainly wasn’t news. I would not be surprised to see almost the same article repeated in every local newspaper across the country, with just the statistics and the name of the town being undermined, changed to suit.