10% price hike in Leeds City Council car parks

We have highlighted many instances of increases in taxation through the back door. Burial fees going up, increased planning application charges, and the old chestnut - parking charges.

As anyone who owns a car will testify, the cost of motoring makes you think twice before you make some journeys. When I travel from Hull to Leeds these days, I take the train, as it is much cheaper than driving. When we go out as a family to do some shopping, if we take the car, we tend to visit large shopping centres where the parking is free. The cost of parking in most city centres is prohibitively expensive, and if you visit Leeds, that's about to get worse.

Leeds City Council is set to increase charges in many of its car parks by up to 10%. In one of the long stay
multistorey car parks, this will push charges up from £8.20 to over £9 a day. The long stay car parks get full very early in the day, so if you want to visit for a shorter period of time, the costs  in the medium stay car parks will typically rise from £7.20 to almost £8 for five hours.

The reason for the increases is because the income from car parks was £700K less than budgeted for in 2010/11, but raising charges does not necessarily mean increased revenue. I have a friend who works for TransPennine Express Trains. They told me more and more people are taking the train to Leeds and Manchester. I imagine the high cost of fuel is the biggest factor influencing these decisions, but parking charges will be factored into the equation. Dramatically increasing charges is self-defeating, and can easily lead to reduced revenue.

If you work in Leeds, and are struggling to find an extra £20 month, you have options. Take the train, try and find free on-street parking further away from the city centre, or look for a job elsewhere. If you are a visitor you have a choice too. Councils have to stop treating motorists as cash cows. They have to find ways to make ends meet, and so do the rest of us. Hitting the motorist yet again is not the way to do it.

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