High Streets Initiative · 9 August 2017

Revealed: The most expensive city centre parking zones in Britain

Free local parking could see small business revenue increase by a third

A new league table has revealed which city centre parking zones are charging UK high street shoppers the most expensive rates, potentially costing local business owners in footfall and sales.

When asked what were the biggest challenge facing high street businesses in Britain, almost one in four Business Advice readers said parking was the greatest threat to survival. Previous research has even suggested small independent shops see revenue increase by up to a third when local parking is free.

The latest data, collected by vehicle history check service HPI Check, now tells the reality of car park costs for shoppers, and the potential footfall damage subsequently taken by independent retailers.

The study calculated its findings based on the cost of an hours’ city centre parking on a typical working day, between 9am and 5pm. The figure represents an average price of parking from all car parks in that city.

Perhaps predictably, London topped the list of the most expensive cities to park in, setting shoppers back £9.10 per hour.

Meanwhile, the least expensive city centre parking zones were found across the Midlands and parts of the North of England.

The contrast between car park rates in the capital and in Sunderland was the greatest – Wearside high street business owners were able to offer their customers parking from an average price of 79p per hour.

The hourly cost of city centre parking in Britain

  1. London – £9.10
  2. Manchester – £3.18
  3. Cardiff – £3.14
  4. Leeds – £3.06
  5. Glasgow – £2.65
  6. Liverpool – £2.59
  7. Sheffield – £2.14
  8. Newcastle – £1.72
  9. Birmingham – £1.50
  10. Sunderland – £0.79

Commenting on the findings, Fernando Garcia, consumer marketing director at HPI Check, advised retailers to encourage customers to seek parking spaces outside of central zones.

“Parking in the UK’s major cities can be very expensive, the cost for one hour can be high, but staying for longer than a few hours can mean that prices quickly jump into the double figures,” Garcia said.

“Not only did we want to look at where some of the priciest locations in the UK were, but we also wanted to analyse how much people could be saving if they were to locate just a small distance away from the city centre.

“The capital came out the highest, but, what’s interesting to see is the costs of some of the northern cities, with Leeds the second highest for the whole country and workers in the city expecting to pay over £300 during a calendar month.

“However, when we look at the savings that could be made when moving just slightly outside the city centre, Leeds again is the perfect example of this with costs going from £355.40 per month to £163.20 a month by simply moving just a mere 0.6 miles outside.”

HPI Check produced the below infographic to illustrate where customers face the most eye-watering city centre parking costs

Credit: HPI Check
Credit: HPI Check

We want to hear your views on the challenges facing UK high street retailers, so please take two minutes to complete our High Streets Initiative survey and make a difference.

This article is part of a wider campaign called the High Streets Initiative, a new section of Business Advice championing independent and small retailers by identifying the issues that put Britain’s high streets under pressure. Visit our High Streets Initiative section to find out more.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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