YOUR article covering the sad announcement of House of Fraser closing quotes Councillor Nigel Hedges as justifying town centre car park charges as " necessary for us to be able to keep car parks maintained and serviceable".

Come on Nigel - as an excellent longstanding past president of the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade who always urged caution on parking prices in your previous life I'm sure you know that's an exaggeration - to put it mildly!

The fact is, surely, that the hefty income received from car parks is helping prop up the council's financial budget and, not to put too fine a point on it, is fixed on the basis of "how much can we get away with?"

I guess price resistance is even factored in too when looking at increases?

Since the opening of Castlepoint the pressure of beyond inflation parking charges has had a negative effect on all the town's shopping centres. Of course, online shopping has had a major effect but the cost of parking hasn't helped.

For me, too, as someone who would like to see more use of our theatres, one of the things I find most painful is to stand by a parking machine in the Pavilion car parks as patrons arrive for a show and maybe something to eat.

The sharp intake of breath and the "how much?" as they organise a whip round to get the change together. Not the right welcome or encouragement to resident or visiting audiences.

I really hope that the new combined Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, to be formed next year, will put a root and branch review of transport in the conurbation well up the agenda.

There seems to be some good stuff happening with the bus companies but it must be time for a radical look at how we're going to get around in future and should include some of the ideas for rapid light transport solutions which other large cities have or are planning to have.

Town centre retail closures will lead to lower rents which mean lower business rate income to the council - beware the law of diminishing returns.


Kirby Way, Bournemouth