Some councils double parking charges

December 08, 2011 4:18 PM

In last week's bulletin sent out to all our supporters, I asked for examples of increases in parking charges across the country. Many thanks to those who got in touch. (If you would like to receive our weekly bulletin, sent out every Friday, click on this link to sign-up)

It appears that many councils are planning increases, or are considering charges on evenings and weekends. Some councils regard motorists as the gift that keeps on giving, however as we have highlighted this year, some councils - Wiltshire Council in particular - have found themselves in the eye of a storm as drivers desert town and city centres to visit and shop in other places that are cheaper to park.

Brighton and Hove Council has been in the news lately because the ruling Green administration is planning to refuse the extra cash from the government to help freeze council tax. It instead plans to increase it by 3.5%. Cllr Jason Kitcat, the finance portfolio holder, was awarded our Pin Head of the Month prize in November for this action that will increase the burden on council taxpayers. But it's not just council tax bills that will increase. Car parking increases are on the way too.

Last week the council approved to advertise price hikes of more than 100%! The Green Party has said this is to reduce congestion, improve air quality and promote the use of sustainable transport.

Not surprisingly this has been greeted with opposition. At a time when when residents, visitors and traders can least afford it, these increases would have a devastating effect. If you wish to object to these plans, you have been allowed 21 days from 29 November (the day the meeting took place) to lodge your complaint.

There are also plans to double the cost of parking in Gravesend, and introduce charges on a Saturday. Free parking on a Saturday was one of the town's selling points, but that seems to be lost on Parking Manager, Paul Gibbons, who told the cabinet, "We seem to be the only town in the county which offers free parking on Saturdays."

Local trader, Bob Atkinson, said, "It is disgusting what they are doing. If you really, really want to drive everyone to Bluewater, put the prices up." There are many more comments along the same lines.

There are planned increases in Chichester, and a petition has been set-up to oppose the introduction of charges on Sundays, and Oxford City Council has introduced charges at park and ride car parks. This must be to pay for all the non-jobs they have advertised this year!

What amazes me is the reaction from some councillors. You would think they would be acutely aware of how many shops are closing in their high streets, and how difficult it is for everyone during these hard economic times. Instead they defend increases by saying 'our charges are favourable compared to other towns in the area'. They justify increases by saying '50p isn't much.' They seem to be completely divorced from reality. Perhaps they should trade places for a week with a small independent trader. Perhaps that's the dose of reality they need.In last week's bulletin sent out to all our supporters, I asked for examples of increases in parking charges across the country. Many thanks to those who got in touch. (If you would like to receive our weekly bulletin, sent out every Friday, click on this link to sign-up)

It appears that many councils are planning increases, or are considering charges on evenings and weekends. Some councils regard motorists as the gift that keeps on giving, however as we have highlighted this year, some councils - Wiltshire Council in particular - have found themselves in the eye of a storm as drivers desert town and city centres to visit and shop in other places that are cheaper to park.

Brighton and Hove Council has been in the news lately because the ruling Green administration is planning to refuse the extra cash from the government to help freeze council tax. It instead plans to increase it by 3.5%. Cllr Jason Kitcat, the finance portfolio holder, was awarded our Pin Head of the Month prize in November for this action that will increase the burden on council taxpayers. But it's not just council tax bills that will increase. Car parking increases are on the way too.

Last week the council approved to advertise price hikes of more than 100%! The Green Party has said this is to reduce congestion, improve air quality and promote the use of sustainable transport.

Not surprisingly this has been greeted with opposition. At a time when when residents, visitors and traders can least afford it, these increases would have a devastating effect. If you wish to object to these plans, you have been allowed 21 days from 29 November (the day the meeting took place) to lodge your complaint.

There are also plans to double the cost of parking in Gravesend, and introduce charges on a Saturday. Free parking on a Saturday was one of the town's selling points, but that seems to be lost on Parking Manager, Paul Gibbons, who told the cabinet, "We seem to be the only town in the county which offers free parking on Saturdays."

Local trader, Bob Atkinson, said, "It is disgusting what they are doing. If you really, really want to drive everyone to Bluewater, put the prices up." There are many more comments along the same lines.

There are planned increases in Chichester, and a petition has been set-up to oppose the introduction of charges on Sundays, and Oxford City Council has introduced charges at park and ride car parks. This must be to pay for all the non-jobs they have advertised this year!

What amazes me is the reaction from some councillors. You would think they would be acutely aware of how many shops are closing in their high streets, and how difficult it is for everyone during these hard economic times. Instead they defend increases by saying 'our charges are favourable compared to other towns in the area'. They justify increases by saying '50p isn't much.' They seem to be completely divorced from reality. Perhaps they should trade places for a week with a small independent trader. Perhaps that's the dose of reality they need.

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