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I am an East Riding of Yorkshire and Bridlington Town Councillor elected to represent Bridlington South Ward. The views and posts on this site are my personal views and are not those of East Riding of Yorkshire Council or Bridlington Town Council. If you become a member of this Blog I will expect you to adhere to posting comments that are not offensive or illegal.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Our High Streets - Our Communities

Motion to ERYC Full Council today.

"This Council will consider extending the 3 week Christmas suspension of weekend car parking charges to run from October to March."
The Conservative ruling party made an amendment to the motion which was voted on. Whilst I am disappointed that the amendment is a watered down version of the original motion and we are not capitalising of the “tangible benefits” that Cllr Parnaby mentioned in his press release last year. The Labour Group voted for the amendment as it was a committment to look at funding free weekend parking over Christmas and New Year an extention on the 2012 provision and therefore a victory to the Labour Group and the motion.  
It was stated that the Labour Group had not mentioned this in it's budget.  This was not put in the Conservative budget either as confirmed by their Director today. The motion was as as result of the Report below.

The Centre for Retail Research published its analysis of how UK retailing will have changed by 2018 on 28 May 2013, Retail Futures 2018.

Retail Futures 2018 forecasts that by 2018:
Total store numbers will fall by 22%
  • Job losses could be around 316,000 compared to today
  • The share of online retail sales will rise from 12.7% (2012) to 21.5% by 2018 or the end of the decade.
  • There will be a further 164 major or medium-sized companies going into administration, involving the loss of 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees. Many of these companies will survive but at the cost of closing more than half their stores.
  • In spite of the Portas Pilots, the High Street will continue to suffer: around 41% of town centres will lose 27,638 stores in the next five years.

Across the country the situation varies drastically as disadvantaged retail pockets become more prominent. More towns will need some reduction of retail space because of the fall in the demand for shops. However Retail Futures 2018 predicts that more than a third of town centres (41% or 153 stores) could experience a rapid decline by 2018 if no action is taken. Just over a fifth (78 or 21%) of towns are declining in retail terms and 75 are stable but under pressure. The retail centres most vulnerable are those near low-income populations located on secondary or tertiary shopping areas.

 Yorkshire and Humberside are predicted to loose 26% of their retail businesses by 2018.

The report further states the following:

Car parking. The high cost or undersupply of convenient car parking is one of the main problems that high-street retailers face. Many local authorities, antagonistic to private transport, have used parking charges as a cash cow, which has driven shoppers to supermarkets and retail parks which usually have convenient parking and no or low parking charges. Car-parking issues should have been one of the first priorities of attempts to revive problem high streets.

The  Report does not argue that retailers' problems are solely internet-based, but are caused by weak consumer demand, changing consumer behaviours, heavy occupancy costs (yes, including business rates), car parking issues and the fracturing of the traditional retail business model.

The organisation has carried out a consumer report, not yet published. Amongst other things it asked about high street and the reason why used less than a few years ago. Car parking/charges were in the top three problems cited by 72% of the 1,000 respondents.

Nearly 3000 retail establishments in ERYC pay £18,947,120.62 in business rates.  Loosing 1/5th of this by 2018 will result in a loss of £3,789,424.12.

This does not take into account of the unemployment etc.

We need to act now to save our high streets especially during the winter period.