Shake-up will mean more workers have to pay to park at County Hall
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
The number of days some Norfolk County Council staff can park at County Hall for free is to be slashed - even though the authority has just spent nearly £2m on a new car park.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the bulk of council staff have not returned to the office, but more workers will go back from next month.
However, the arrangements for car parking at the buildings, in Martineau Lane, Norwich, used by 2,000 workers, will be changing.
It means, while a number of priority workers will be able to park for free, others will only be able to do that twice a month.
Otherwise they will need to pay £3 for every four hours, or use public transport, including a new park and ride service to County Hall.
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A council spokesman said: "We are introducing a new parking system from next month, on the basis that most staff will continue to work from home for most of the time and reflecting the needs of staff who need to make multiple journeys each day."
The council says its new hybrid working approach will mean more staff work from home and only go into the office for specific purposes.
It comes as work continues on a new £1.9m car park at County Hall, which had been criticised for encouraging car use.
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The council spokesman said: “Parking has been a challenge at County Hall and we support alternative ways to travel or work from other locations.
"We have closed other offices in Norwich and so more staff will use County Hall as their base and this helps reduce property costs."
Priority spaces will go to staff such as social workers, care workers and other front-line workers.
The spokesman said: "We anticipate most office-based staff will be able to manage their travel and office work in this way and the majority have told us this is what they prefer.
"We have committed to review how these arrangements work between now and Christmas and seek feedback on how it is working."
Jonathan Dunning, branch secretary for Unison, said: "Given the realities we face, I think they are doing it in a sensible way. We will be working with the council on a survey leading up to Christmas to see how it works in practice."
Councillors will still be able to park for free.