New rise in parking fees ‘will backfire’

Coun Ian Cooper
Coun Ian Cooper
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COUNCIL plans to put up parking charges again in a bid to raise £400,000 will end in tears, according to Coun Ian Cooper.

He said: “It might look like an easy way to balance the books but it will be at the expense of local businesses and jobs.

“There needs to be a proper assessment of the implications before we set any new income targets.”

Councillor Cooper (Con, Todmorden) said council leaders should have learned the lesson from the hike in fees for using council-run sports centres and leisure facilities.

Instead of the extra £450,000 the move was expected to generate, the latest indications are that income will be £350,000 short of the mark.

And that has prompted the Lib-Lab coalition to set aside £300,000 in this year’s budget to keep them operating.

Coun Cooper said: “I warned that would happen and now they are talking about putting up parking charges again.

“They must use some business acumen and realise you can’t go on forever setting income targets which are highly unlikely to be achieved. It is a soft option that only puts off the day when you need to cut costs,” he said.

Parking charges went up by about 10p an hour last April and if the Lib-Lab draft budget is approved they will rise by a similar amount in April 2014 “to generate additional income.”

Another £600,000 could be raised “by realising the income generation potential of the various parking assets owned or managed by the council.”

That means adopting some of the recommendations contained in a detailed parking review, which was carried out two years ago.

It suggested new charging locations and making residents pay for parking permits but could incur extra costs to cover administration and enforcement.

“Additional staff may be needed for maintaining the additional pay and display machines and cash collection,” according to the budget proposals, which have now gone out to public consultation.