Car parking charges could be going up from April but shoppers may be able to park in short stay council car parks for free for up to 20 minutes.
Melton Council, which last increased its off street car park charges in 2012, is also considering splitting up its Burton Street site into short stay and long stay parking, removing the current one hour tariff at its Mill Street car park - clarifying its long stay status - and introducing a tariff for longer stays (up to four hours) in its short stay car parks, a move designed to encourage better usage of its car parks.
The council claims it will cost £1 million, over the next five years, to maintain its car parks as they are now and that any additional revenue arising from its proposed tariff changes would be used to fund future improvements, potentially including the introduction of more flexible pay-by-mobile phone parking.
The council will be consulting the public on its proposals before it makes any decisions and before any changes come into force from April.
The council’s rural, economic and environmental affairs committee discussed a range of possible options earlier this month. Most members were not against increasing charges, as long as they were balanced and fair, but substitute member John Wyatt called for the council to keep prices as they are.
Mr Wyatt also felt it would be ‘unworkable’ for the Burton Street car park to be split up into short and long stay parking, with the triangular shaped car park nearest to the council’s Parkside offices remaining as long stay and the section nearest to the town centre becoming short-stay.
The option agreed by the committee would, if implemented, see the cost of an hour’s short stay parking rise from 70p to 80p, £1.40 to £1.60 for up to two hours and £2 to £2.60 for up to three hours.
Shoppers would also be able to park for up to four hours in short stay car parks, costing £3, and park for free for up to 20 minutes.
Short stay parking on Tuesdays would also go up, with visitors having an additional option of parking for up to 20 minutes for 20p.
One hour’s short stay parking on Tuesdays would rise from £1.10 to £1.30, from £2.20 to £2.50 for up to two hours and from £3.30 to £3.70 for up to three hours.
The proposed new long stay car parking charges would be £1.50 for up to three hours and £3.50 for all day. On Tuesdays the new charges would be £3 for up to three hours and £4 for all day.
The cost of a weekly long stay ticket would rise from £7 to £12 and season ticket prices would rise from £180 to £220 (six months) and from £330 to £390 (12 months). Monthly season tickets would be available for £40.
The council anticipates the proposed car parking tariff changes, as a whole, will generate an increase in overall revenue of between £38,000 and £94,000, with this being used to fund future car park improvements.
It also says the proposed new charges have been modelled based on current car park usage, with Burton Street in particular showing huge growth in usage for up to two hours’ and four hours’ parking.
Details of how people can have their say on the proposed car park charges/changes will be given in due course.