Chesterfield Borough Council under fire after raising parking fees

Chesterfield City Council.

On Monday, Chesterfield Borough Council Labor councilors voted to raise prices at the authority’s car parks to bring in an extra £143,000.

According to the borough council, the “relatively small” increases will help the authority “maintain a balanced budget” and “protect essential services”.

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But Councilor Paul Holmes of the Liberal Democrats is unhappy with the hikes.

He said: ‘The effects of Covid are not over yet although things may soon start to subside.

“If we want downtown to recover, we shouldn’t be delaying buyers with increases this year – let alone such increases above inflation.

Car park usage dropped during Covid as shoppers stayed away and lockdowns were in effect – unless you were partying in Downing Street, of course.

“Now the added competition from the new Glass Yard center opposite the football pitch attracts businesses and buyers with lower rents and two hours of free parking.

“On top of that there’s the hit in everyone’s pockets that comes with the huge rise in energy costs and the increase in the government’s national insurance tax, as well as the increase already over £20 of Universal Credit.”

He added: “On December 16, the government announced Financial Regulation 2022-23 for councils.

“It was more generous than expected and Chesterfield Borough Council is receiving almost £1.4m more than expected or expected.

“The borough council could freeze parking charges, absorb the extra £143,000 it wants to take away from shoppers and still have over £1.2m extra unexpected cash in the bank.

“It’s time to lead by example instead of just blaming someone else and demanding someone else take action.”

A borough council spokesman said: ‘We understand the concerns about the relatively small increase in parking fees.

“However, we review every two years and the price has not been increased recently.

“With the ongoing financial challenges created by Covid-19, this relatively small increase will help contribute to the council maintaining a balanced budget – and ultimately protecting essential services that residents and local businesses value. and on which they rely.

“Even with this relatively small increase, our parking fees would remain in line with other cities of a similar size, and we will also once again provide residents with a permit allowing free parking during certain hours.

“If people used this to park for just two hours each week they could save around £140 a year, and our last review showed that these permits were used by around 70% of residents.

“Our downtown is the heart of our borough and we are investing to ensure its future.

“This includes improvement works like the revitalization of the heart of Chesterfield which will see a transformation of the town centre, and we have also funded a wide variety of town center events which aim to increase the number of people visiting our town. .

“We are also supporting local businesses through projects like Digital High Street which aims to help retailers trade online and further increase their sales.”

What are the new charges?

– 90p up to 30 minutes (instead of the current 80p)

– £1.70 for up to one hour (compared to £1.60 currently)

– £3 for up to two hours (currently £2.80)

– £3.20 for up to three hours (currently £3)

– £4.80 for up to four hours (currently £4.50)

– £1.70 for each subsequent hour in short-term car parks (compared to £1.60 currently)

– £5.30 for four hours and more in long-term car parks (compared to £5 currently)

– £5.30 for four to five hours in the Saltergate multi-storey car park (compared to £5 now)

– £6.50 for more than five hours/up to 24 hours in Saltergate multi-storey car park (was £6)

– an annual parking permit will increase from £620 to £660, a monthly permit will increase from £62 to £66 and scratch cards will increase from £3.60 to £3.80

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