Priced out of parking

Parking charges are scaring over-50s away from High Street shopping.
Parking charges are scaring over-50s away from High Street shopping.

Online shopping has been blamed for the demise of some high street shops but the cost of parking may have also played a part.

Many over 50s need to drive to their local shops for essentials or for meeting friends and remaining socially active.

However, according to research by Saga Car Insurance, many over 50s now avoid shopping in their local town centre because of the cost of parking and one in four in Scotland in that age group has stopped visiting their local High Street altogether because it’s too expensive to park near the shops.

18 per cent of Scots over 50 say they have stopped visiting local shops because the cost of parking is too high;

39 per cent say they are more likely to shop out of town so they don’t have to pay;

25 per cent avoid visiting their local High Street because of the cost of parking;

35 per cent tend to walk to the shops or use public transport to avoid paying for car parking;

And it may not just be the price that is putting some over 50s off using car parks.

Some places have switched to only taking payment via mobile phones which doesn’t suit everyone, especially those who aren’t technologically savvy.

Two-fifths of people are still keen to support their local high street and say they either walk or catch a bus to the shops.

Furthermore, half of over 50s say they now drive to different places, such as out of town retail parks, where they don’t have to pay to park.

Expensive parking is less likely to take women away from the High Street (women 42 per cent v men 51 per cent).

Sue Green, head of car insurance at Saga commented: “For many older people a car is key to maintaining their independence.

‘‘Being able to get to their local High Street for essential shopping, picking up prescriptions or going for a coffee with friends should not be hindered by the cost of parking.

‘‘If the Government want to breathe life back into shopping in the ‘real world’, rather than online, they need to curb excessive parking charges and unnecessary restrictions and consider offering free parking to enable shoppers to visit the local High Street.”