Vale of White Horse parking costs set to rise in Wantage, Faringdon, Abingdon and other areas
Parking charges could rise in one area of Oxfordshire.
The White Horse Valley is considering raising charges at council-run car parks across the region – which includes towns such as Faringdon, Abingdon and Wantage.
The proposals would reduce the existing two hours of free parking to one hour free – with a charge of £1.50 for two hours.
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The exception to this would be the Southampton Street car park in Faringdon, as drivers were concerned to start parking in the nearby supermarket car park.
Other parking charges would all increase by 40p – with three hours of parking rising from £1.90 to £2.30 as an example.
In a report, council officers said a rate of £1.50 for two hours was “very competitive”.
The report adds: “However, there are private operators who offer free parking in Vale, such as at Sainsbury’s in Wantage (up to two hours), Waitrose in Abingdon and Faringdon (also up to two hours).
“Businesses in the market towns of Vale have struggled in recent years with the growth of shopping centers near Oxford and Didcot, and the rise of online shopping.
“Although the cost of the short-term parking offered is not significant, compared to some other nearby car parks, many businesses are likely to be concerned that shorter free parking periods will discourage residents from traveling to city centers , especially those that require visits to several companies.
“Reductions to the length of the free period could also be detrimental to downtown businesses that require longer visiting times, such as cafes, gyms, hairdressers and restaurants.
“Over the past five years, Chambers of Commerce, City teams, business groups and individual businesses based in Vale have continually raised concerns about excessive parking in Vale. Concerns range from lack of spaces available to illegal parking, to the lack of affordable long-term spaces for employees.”
However, he noted: “It is important to note that there is a lack of strong evidence for the local area that can be used to link car parking costs to footfall independent of other factors.
“Parking fees should be considered as one of many complex elements that influence the vitality of downtown, including: availability of parking spaces, security, traffic, signage, facilities, proximity to businesses out-of-town retail and the overall mix of business and commercial activity in the region.
The Vale of White Horse Cabinet will discuss the proposals at their February 4 meeting.
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