Many parking charges to rise under new plan

From The Argus, full story here

Parking charges in some areas of the city are set to double if new proposals are accepted.

The planned set of charges has been published by Brighton and Hove City Council ahead of a decision on January 20.

As well as an increase in fees at most of the local authority’s car parks, there is also a planned widespread rise in permit fees.

Most on-street parking charges will also go up.

One hour of parking at the council’s Regency Square, Trafalgar Street and The Lanes car parks would increase from £1 for the first hour to £2 (100%).

There are other proposed increases across the car parks with two hours at Trafalgar Street up £3.50 to £4 (14.3%), four hours up £6 to £7 (16.7%) and an hour at the weekend up from £2 to £2.50 (25%).

However, there are falls in charges at Regency Square car park with two hours down from £5 to £4 (-20.0%) and four hours falling from £12 to £7 (-41.7%).

Meanwhile a quarterly season ticket would fall from £650 to £300 (–53.8%) and an annual season ticket from £2,000 to £1,000 (–40.0%).

The proposals also include a fall in quarterly season tickets at Trafalgar Street from £1,000 to £400 (–60.0%) and annual season tickets down £2,000 to £1,200 (–40.0%).

However, there is little else in the way of savings for motorists with residents also facing a rise in the cost of parking permits.

If the plans are accepted, a one year permit would increase from £120 to £125 (4.2%) with visitor day permits going up 7.7% from £2.60 to £2.80.

Much of the city’s pay–and–display parking will also increase above inflation if the proposals are accepted.

The changes include an increase in one hour tickets in Madeira Drive, west of Madeira Lift, Marine Parade and King’s Road, from £3 to £3.20 (6.7%).

Elsewhere two hours will increase from £4 to £4.20 (5.0%) along Kingsway east of Fourth Avenue, Central Brighton North (Cheapside and The Level), New Steine, and Madeira Drive east of Madeira Lift.

The proposals will be discussed and voted on at the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee on January 20.

It is predicted the changes would raise an extra £800,000 for the council. The extra cash would be put towards other transport schemes.

Last year the local authority raised £25.8 million from its parking operations – the highest out of any council in the country outside London.

The £11 million profit was used to fund concessionary bus travel, road maintenance, road safety and public transport improvements.

Members of the council’s Conservative group have slammed the proposed above inflation increases – describing them as “counterproductive”.

Councillor Graham Cox, group transport spokesman, said: “The proposed increases are completely inappropriate and are a further blow to residents, businesses and visitors in the city who have already had to put up with huge increases in previous years.

“We will do everything we can to try and reverse these proposed hikes and to put an end to the parking rip–off reputation that Brighton and Hove has unfortunately gained in recent years.”

Coun Ann Norman said the council was “blind” to the fact it would drive visitors away.

The council’s Labour group also spoke out against the proposals.

Coun Gill Mitchell, the party’s environment spokesman, said: “We have always been clear that above–inflation price increases to parking charges are unacceptable and we are astounded to see the Greens propose 100% increases to some charges.”

Green coun Ian Davey, the council’s lead member for transport and chairman of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, pointed out many prices would be frozen.

He said: “The Conservatives are again choosing to ignore the fact that for the third year running many prices are frozen and others, following last year’s price cuts, are going down again by over 50%.

“We reduced the one hour rate in city centre car parks in 2012, even with this proposed increase they remain 20% cheaper than the Tories’ charges when they were last in power.”

Among the charges to be frozen include all charges other than the one hour fare in The Lanes car park and one hour parking across the council’s medium and low zone pay–and–display.

However, Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said the proposals were worrying for residents and businesses.

He said: “We are spending more than we are taking and the poor motorist is paying the cost.

“The motorist is paying for everything but getting the least space on the road. The bicycle lanes are getting wider and everything has to be paid for by the motorists – it is unfair.”

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One thought on “Many parking charges to rise under new plan

  1. teddy

    As I have previously noted, raising money from motorists in this way is cynical taxation by the back door, and I am firmly of the opinion that if challenged at Judicial Review the Council would be found to be acting unlawfully. The claim that the money is put toward ‘other transport schemes’ seems to be a deceitful fiction put up to try and justify the practice, and quite apart from that it is really riling when the such ‘other’ schemes as we have witnessed so far have seemed to be politically driven and bonkers.

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