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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Fury at city car park price rises
NCP sign
The cost of parking in some NCP car parks has doubled
Businesses in Cardiff city centre have reacted furiously to a decision by car parking company NCP to increase local charges.

NCP has raised its parking prices in several of its multi-storey car parks across the city centre.

In one, in Wood Street, drivers now have to pay 80p per 15 minutes, up to a 12 maximum, and some retailers say they fear trade will be hit.

NCP has been asked to comment on the issue, but has not yet responded.

According to local newspapers, previous charges at the Wood Street car park included 2.80 for up to two hours, and 7 for up to nine hours.

I think they are shooting themselves in the foot
David Hughes-Lewis, Cardiff Retail Partnership

Under the new price structure, motorists pay 6.40 for two hours. A stay over three hours 45 minutes is charged the top rate of 12.

Claire Saralis, from business support organisation Cardiff Chamber of Commerce, said the price rises coincided with major city centre redevelopment work that was already affecting trade.

She said: "The price increases are very ill-timed. They come at a time when city centre retailers are already reporting a footfall reduction.

"I think high car parking charges will give the message that the private car isn't welcome in the city centre.

Building work in The Hayes, Cardiff
Traders also worry about the impact of redevelopment in Cardiff
"And if you couple that with the fact that some retailers are already suffering with a drop in trade because of the redevelopment work, well you can see how worried businesses are."

She said it "could well lead to Cardiff becoming an 'anti-shopping' city".

"We are not talking about a slight increase in car parking charges, we are talking about a doubling," she said.

'Really expensive'

Her comments were supported by Cardiff city centre manager Paul Williams, who said the car parking price increases were "excessive".

"It's off-putting and I don't think people have the disposable income," he said.

"It's really detrimental and I think the perception that Cardiff is a really fabulous place will change into one that people think is really expensive."

Mr Williams said he hoped NCP, along with the main retail bodies in the city, could meet to discuss the matter.

David Hughes-Lewis, chairman of the Cardiff Retail Partnership, added: "Without any warning, they've whacked on this price increase.

"If you double your prices, what will happen? One of my colleagues used to use the NCP car park three or four times a week, but now he doesn't."

Mr Hughes-Lewis said his group would probably debate the rise at its board meeting next Tuesday.

"I don't think there's an awful lot we can do - they are a private company," he said.

"But I think they are shooting themselves in the foot."




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