BCP parking rates should increase by 10%

RESIDENTS and visitors to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole beaches are to face higher parking charges as the council tries to tackle inflation.

The BCP council has approved plans to raise parking costs in beachfront car parks and adjacent on-street areas, seeing each price bracket rise by around 10%.

The changes come as local authorities across the country continue to grapple with the challenges of the cost of living crisis.

Julian McLaughlin, director of transport and engineering, said: “Our seaside car parks are a major source of income for our cities and are used mainly by people from outside the region who come to visit our popular resort.

“The changes are expected to generate an additional £359,000 in the 2022/23 financial year to reinvest in parking services and to cover the rising costs of parking operations in the BCP region.”

The higher tariffs are expected to take around 10 weeks to be implemented, but they have already come under criticism.

The pavilion car park

Lib Dem chief adviser Vikki Slade said: ‘I fear we are putting more pressure on people when the cost of living is already skyrocketing.

“I’m surprised the board is going up so high – 10% is a big increase.

“I recognize that the council has increased the costs, but I prefer to see them spread this burden. There are large areas where we do not charge for parking. If you look at West Cliff and parts of Boscombe Overcliff parking is free. If we charged these people a reasonable amount to park on these roads, we would be able to generate more revenue to support the council without charging families for a day by the sea.”

Union councilor George Farquhar said: ‘I don’t support it. A 10% increase is simply not acceptable.

“Not everyone has access to a green space or the seaside, and many families cannot get around by public transport and have to take a vehicle, so they will be the first to be affected.”

Discussions have also started about the impact the increased charges will have on residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Councilor George Farquhar added: ‘I think we should have one hour free parking in all our service car parks before we start charging. This will differentiate our residents who park for shopping or a short trip to the park with the kids, from our day trippers.

Bournemouth Echo: The Pavilion car parkThe pavilion car park

Christchurch Independent, Lesley Dedman agreed that more support should be put in place for residents in response to the changes. She said: ‘There should be a special rate for locals. It’s really sad that they have to keep paying to go to their own beach.

“I know parking fees need to go up, but it’s the residents who will suffer.”

Councilors were recently briefed on the impact of the cost of living crisis in a report.

In an article also discussing the increase in the council’s debt threshold to £1.3 billion, a report stated: “The council will be particularly exposed to rising energy costs, particularly electricity (public lighting / leisure centers / owned building) and gas, and contracts with inflationary causes such as waste disposal.

“To underscore the volatility, the price of electricity and gas increased by 80% in a single 24-hour period after February. The resulting financial challenge will be felt by both our community, whether it is act of residents or businesses, and directly by the Council with costs significantly higher than those budgeted.

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