A BBC Report:
A Devon (UK) council has reduced weekend parking charges to encourage shoppers and tourists into the area. Throughout April it will cost £1 to buy a ticket which will be valid throughout the weekend for any of the council-run car parks in Torbay. This includes Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. According to Torbay Council there were 198 empty shops across the bay by the end of last year, 20% more than in April 2008.
Heh – Did anyone on the Devon council consider that it might be the 198 empty shops that kept people from coming to Torquay, not the couple of pounds it costs to park?
This is a classic example of my "If you build it they will come" scenario. Lowering taxes, loosening zoning restrictions, injecting some good old Urban Renewal, hiring a marketing consultant to first find out why people aren't coming to Torquay, then recommending changes, then implementing the changes.
But nope, the first thing we do is assume people don't show up because there is a charge to park. Gee, no one goes to the NEC because it costs to park. Disneyland the world over is vacant because of parking charges (and they are steep).
You get the point…Unfortunately for the merchants in Torquay, Devon Council probably won't.