The decision by Manchester residents to vote against congestion charging in the city has split opinion among local hospitality operators.
Residents had been asked to decide whether to introduce a two-ring scheme in Manchester as part of a Transport Innovation Fund. A “yes” vote came with the carrot of up to £3b of public transport improvements for the city centre – something that is now in doubt.
John Lederer, managing director of the Brasserie Blanc group, which has a restaurant in King’s Street, said he was pleased, given that many London restaurateurs blamed the capital’s congestion charge for a fall in trade.
“It won’t mean an increase in delivery costs, either,” he added. “Manchester is, perhaps, less suited than London to such a scheme, as it’s surrounded by satellite towns, which people typically drive into the city from.”
But Paul Heathcote, who runs the Olive Press and Grado restaurants in Manchester, said that, while he understood why people had voted against the charge, businesses in the city would ultimately have benefited from traffic being freed up.
“In the short term it might have hurt, but people would have still come into Manchester to do business,” he said.
Manchester residents say no to congestion charging >>
By Chris Druce
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