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Cotswold reviews parking charges

New pay-and-display parking charges in the Cotswolds are being proposed for the first time in four years from April 1st 2008.

The District Council plans to freeze the half-hour charge at its pay-and-display car parks at 50p and to add just 10p to the current £1 charge for one hour.

The £1.60 charge for two hours would rise to £2, while a three-hour stay would increase from £2 to £2.50.

Proposed charges:
Half hour to stay at 50p
One hour increases to £1.10
Two hours increases to £2.00
Three hours increases to £2.50

The recommendations to Council, which will be subject to the usual consultation process, were agreed by a meeting of Cabinet today (December 13th).

Council Leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said the proposals reflected residents’ views from the Council’s recent budget consultation that users of services should pay for them in order to protect other services provided in the market towns, such as street cleaning, public conveniences and facilities for younger and older people.

He said: “The budget workshops gave us a clear message that people believe the user should pay – they also suggested that the Council should look at new ways of raising income by charging for discretionary services such as planning advice.”

Cllr Stowe said that the pricing structure would help to keep turnover of spaces high, making it easier for local people to find a place to park.

He said: “The half-hour and one-hour charges will protect the local shoppers who are popping into town for a pint of milk or loaf of bread. This is important for the vitality of our market towns.

“This is the first pay-and-display review we have proposed for four years and keeps charges reasonable in comparison with other local towns in Gloucestershire. Over a four-year period, the increase for periods of an hour or less is lower than inflation.”

Cllr Mark Tufnell, Portfolio holder for Environment, said that the Council was planning a review of car parking next year, looking holistically at on-street and off-street parking issues.

He said: “Clearly, with increased enforcement on-street, people’s parking habits are changing – especially in town centres.  Any motorist who visits Cirencester will know that in can be hard to find a space at times. Our aim is to keep the turnover of spaces high by freezing the half-hour charge and only adding 10p to the hour charge.
“The review will carefully consider the future of parking provision in the town and elsewhere across the District.

“We need to look at the current restrictions, the provision we are making for off-street parking and how we deliver residents’ parking schemes.”

Specifically in Cirencester, Cllr Tufnell said the review will take into account the emerging Vision for Cirencester, looking at the future development of the town centre as a whole.
 
The proposed new charges, which include increases for season tickets and car park permits, would come into force on April 1st, 2008. The recommendations will be considered by full Council at its meeting on Tuesday, December 18th.

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