Long-stay price hike at Riverside car park in Norwich is blasted by rail commuters and Greater Anglia

Riverside car park in Norwich.

Riverside car park in Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Angry commuters and Norfolk's main rail operator have blasted a decision to hike long-stay prices at the Riverside multistorey car park in Norwich.

New prices came into effect on Monday which could see a massive 150pc rise in the usual £8 paid by some, to £20.

The rises come because the owners of the 730-space car park, X-Leisure, which owns the Riverside site, wanted to ensure spaces were available for its leisure customers using the likes of Hollywood Bowl, Odeon cinema and various restaurants.

Historically the car park has always provided 370 spaces for the sole use of railway staff and customers, due to the land the Riverside complex was built on being purchased from Railtrack in the 1980s.

An X-Leisure statement cited early parking by commuters and 'growing pressures' due to the popularity of the car park, explaining: 'There was one all-day tariff in operation at a cost of £8, commuters could validate this at a reduced rate of £6.

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'Following a review of usage it was identified that, once the rail allocation of 370 spaces had been used at the £6 rate, rail customers were still able to park but were required to pay the full £8, which with the limited alternative parking options in the area has been an acceptable rate and the usage has been high.

'To address the issue of limited spaces being available for leisure users later in the day, the review identified that a new tariff was required for commuters based on a higher payment for long stays (over five hours) to £20.'

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Angry commuters say the changes had not been publicised but a spokesman insisted leaflets were distributed 'some time in advance' of the changes.

Greater Anglia, the main operator of Norwich rail station, which has just a 60-space car park, has blasted the changes, with a spokesman saying: 'We are disappointed about the increase. We did not wish to see these increases applied and we have sought to prevent them being introduced.'

The spokesman said Greater Anglia had also asked for more time before the new charges were imposed and will continue to try and 'maximise' parking spaces available to its passengers.

The spokesman added: 'Despite our best efforts on behalf of our customers, these rises have been imposed at short notice and as we do not control the pricing and have no contractual rights over these other spaces, we were unable to prevent the changes.'

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