Parking branded 'already extortionate' ahead of fee increase meeting
- Credit: Archant
Motorists could be about to see another hit to their wallets, with the cost of parking permits and on-street pay and display tickets potentially rising by up to 20pc.
A committee which oversees parking fees for the county is due to meet this week to discuss proposed increases.
It comes at a time when many are already feeling the pinch as the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills heap pressure on households.
Some businesses have already criticised the possible increases, warning they could discourage people from visiting city and town centres.
Members of the Norfolk Parking Partnership (NPP) Joint Committee - which is made up of local councils - agreed to the review of permit and on-street parking charges last month, and are due to reconvene on Tuesday, March 8.
Other than in Norwich, costs have not been formally reviewed or increased since 2009 and the proposed new tariffs will be presented at the meeting, along with plans to automatically increase tariffs each year.
The proposals are for increases in Norfolk's three larges urban areas.
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In the city centre, there are two bands for on-street pay and display parking.
Proposals would see Band A rise from £2.50 per hour (£1.50 for the first 30 minutes, followed by 50p per 15 minutes afterwards) to £3 per hour (£1.80 for the first 30 minutes, followed by 60p per 15 minutes afterwards).
Band B would rise from £1.70 per hour (£1.10p for the first 30 minutes and 30p for each 15 minutes after that) to £2 per hour (£1.30p for the first 30 minutes and 35p for each 15 minutes after that).
Here, on-street pay and display parking costs £3 or £4.50 for up to four hours and £5 or £7.50 for four to 10 hours.
This is set to rise to £5 for up to four hours and £8 for four to 10 hours, at North Drive and South Beach, while for Marine Parade a new tariff and length of stay is proposed.
This would see parking cost £3 per hour for up to two hours (a total of £6) and £3.50 per hour for over two hours with a maximum stay duration of four hours (a total of £14).
There are also plans to introduce two new pay and display parking areas in Nelson Road and Apsley Road and Deneside.
The first would replace existing voucher parking and, during April to October, offer the first hour free with up to two hours at £2.50, or £4 for a maximum stay of three hours.
While in November to March the first 90 minutes would be free, £1.50 for up to two hours, or £3.50 for a maximum stay of three hours, a model which would be replicated all year round at Deneside.
Tom Smith, manager of the town’s Lek Thai restaurant on Marine Parade, branded existing parking prices in the seaside town as “already extortionate”.
“Parking here is already more expensive than in many city centres,” he said.
“Money is very tight for our customers and while footfall hasn't dramatically changed, the spend per head is down by 30pc because of the financial pressures people have at the moment.
“By increasing parking fees, the council will only burn a hole in the pockets of the motorist and hurt the town long term - unilaterally decreasing the spend per head of each customer.
“The only purpose is to get as much money out of the visitors without considering long term loyalty and discouraging revisiting.”
In King's Lynn, where only a small number of roads have on-street pay and display, the first hour is free, and has been described as “extremely successful” so is proposed to continue.
After that, it is £2.50 for up to two hours, £3 up to two-and-a-half hours, £3.50 for up to three hours, £4 for up to three-and-a-half hours, and £4.50 up to four hours, the maximum duration.
Proposed changes would see each charge increase by 50p each, with the lowest charge at £3 (up to two hours) and the maximum charge at £5 (up to four hours).
Parking permits in areas other than Norwich costs £40 a year. Had the price kept pace with inflation, they would cost £54.21. Proposals have been put forward to increase the cost to £50 per year.
Within Norwich, the cost has increased more recently and depends on the length of vehicles - from £24.60 to £52.80 per year. As an example, the most popular permit purchased in the medium vehicle tariff at £37.20 per year
A proposed increase to £46.50, equates to an extra £9.30 per year which is an additional 18p per week.
- For details of how to attend the meeting or watch live via YouTube, email firstname.lastname@example.org