Birmingham Tories call for high streets help

Free parking and improvements to pedestrian access needed to sustain retail sector.

The Conservative group on Birmingham city council have called on the Labour-run administration to remove charges from its local car parks to support high street retail as it recovers from the Covid-19 lockdown. Birmingham Conservatives are also calling for investment to improve safety along walking routes into local high streets, to help ensure people have a range of options to visit our local centres rather than going to out of city shopping centres, which would increase pollution as well as take money out of the city.

Cllr Robert Alden (Con, Erdington) said, “We have long called for free parking in our district centres to attract customers to high street shops and restaurants, but with those businesses struggling due to the pandemic and people being advised against using public transport where possible this becomes even more important.

“Even if it can only be on a temporary basis this summer whilst businesses find their feet, the council needs to show it is able to support local business through this difficult time and not drive people away to other high streets and shopping centres outside the city. There are also lots of walking routes into local centres that need small amount of investment to improve safety and the council should also focus some of their investment in this.”

Cllr Ewan Mackey (Con, Sutton Roughley), Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “We know Labour have shown themselves to have a strong dislike for motorists and a seemingly equal level of disinterest in genuine support for local high streets, but neither standpoint serves residents of Birmingham well, especially in the current circumstances. Free off-road parking in district centres could be a simple big effective boost to high streets at a time when it couldn’t be more needed, so I really hope they will prove me wrong and step up to provide this.”