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Car parking charge hike

February 6, 2009 12:00 AM
By James Kershaw in Brentwood Weekly News

DRIVERS are facing increased charges in car parks across Brentwood.

The new charges, which will see price hikes in council run car parks in William Hunter Way, Hart Street/Crown Street, Hunter Avenue and Friars Avenue, and Coptfold Road, have been proposed by Brentwood Borough Council as it attempts to balance its budget.

As part of the plans, motorists using these car parks for up to one hour will have to pay 80p, up from 70p.

Drivers wanting to park for longer will face a 33 per cent increase for up to five hours parking (£3 to £4), and an 18 per cent increase for more than six hours (£8.50 to £10), in William Hunter Way and Coptfold multi storey car parks.

People with permits will also be forced to pay an extra £5, to their existing £90 per month fee.

Councillor David Kendall, Liberal Democrat leader, said: "These increases will hit local retailers, businesses and residents very hard.

"Many people who live and work in Brentwood have to use their cars to get into the town because of the unreliable public transport links and they are now going to be penalised at a time when they need the council's support the most.

"We suggested to the members of the Highways Panel that car parking charges should be frozen for this year, but sadly our call was rejected by the Conservative majority."

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also disapproved of the plans, suggesting it would effect both shoppers and retailers.

David Miles, chairman of the south west Essex FSB branch, said: "This is bad news for businesses as it does nothing to encourage people to shop in Brentwood and does nothing to help people who work in or manage small businesses who have no other choice but to park there."

But Russell Quirk, Tory councillor for Brentwood North, said the increase in charges were "unavoidable".

He said: "Parking charges are proposed to increase here and there to reflect increased costs that the council is subjected to.

"This year we are under more pressure than ever before because our costs have increased so much.

"Rather than just increase council tax across the board for everyone we have instead looked at a service charge that may have to be increased.

"We have to balance our budget. It's unavoidable."

The proposals will be discussed at a Special Policy meeting on February 25, and if approved, will come into force from April.