However, if the Council supports the use of charges, and very steep rises in charges, for the purposes cited, how does that square with the free parking policy at certain sites in the run up to Christmas? Doesn't that encourage car use in the way that raising car parking charges is designed to discourage? Isn't following both policies at once rather contradictory?
In fact, I don't believe that the free parking policy is going to be much use to Brent Town Centres, and my reasons are these:
- When I was looking at changes to Harlesden Town Centre, I was assured that only about 15% of shoppers to an average London Town Centre came by car. Most travel on foot or by public transport.
- To some extent, the free parking policy will encourage negative factors such as poor air quality and traffic congestion that make the centres less attractive to shop in.
- Thirdly, the free parking only forms an attraction where there are Council parks that are part of the scheme. Places like Kilburn High Road lose out from any supposed benefit because it has no Council owned park.