What is stopping more people from visiting the average British high street?
New research by XLN reveals that 90% of Brits would visit high streets more often if free parking was offered.
XLN, a supplier of utilities to small businesses, found that a 32% of respondents picked expensive parking and the lack of free parking as their biggest high street frustrations.
Referring to research conducted by BRC and KPMG, Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard, concluded: “The high cost of parking in high streets and shopping centres, together with elongated travel times due to congestion means that urban destinations are at an obvious and increasing disadvantage.”
Many councils have trialled or offered free parking to great success. The Argus of Brighton and Hove reported that free parking encourages visitors to stay longer and pump more into the high street economy. A visitor was quoted as saying: “When we found out about the free parking we decided to stay longer in Brighton and do some shopping”.
The survey also found that 94% of people miss the community feel of their high street and that they would likely visit the shops more often if this was restored. Meanwhile 47% of those surveyed were most annoyed about issues on the high street which reflect the struggle small business owners face. These included: boarded up shops, shops struggling to keep trading, the lack of independent shops, and shops struggling to employ people.
Christian Nellemann, Founder and CEO of XLN, believes that governments, across all parties, have consistently failed to address the issues independent businesses are facing. Christian’s next action comes in the form of a manifesto which aims to inspire the public and small retailers to lobby the government to save the high street.
Nellemann said: “I have always been a believer in small businesses and am mortified at the lack of support they have received from governments. XLN has helped where we can by cutting costs and offering free Wi-Fi, but those with real power aren’t doing enough.”