St Neots residents could see parking charges in the town centre almost tripled

Parking in the Market Square may be increased from 30 pence to 80 pence. Parking in the Market Square may be increased from 30 pence to 80 pence.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
7:00 AM

A proposed hike in parking charges in St Neots town centre which could see motorists charged almost triple the current cost has been widely criticised – but there’s still time to object.

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Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to increase on-street parking charges in the Market Square to 80p an hour – up from 30p.

The maximum length of stay will be one hour between 8am and 6pm, but motorists will be able to pay for 15-minute slots, each costing 20p.

CCC is accepting comments about the scheme until Friday (May 9).

In a letter to The Hunts Post, Valerie Barlow described the change as a “parking rip-off” most people were unaware of.

“Why is it more money? We do only want an hour otherwise we would go to other car parks.

“We need to remember how often we put a 50p in as we don’t have 30p in change.

“Maybe if they get away with it at 80p, we will at times be putting in a £1 coin, leaving a 20p tip.”

Traders are also concerned about the effect on business.

Brett Garrod, owner of Entertainment Base on the Market Square, said he already paid “astronomical” business rates, without the possible loss of custom from higher parking charges.

He added: “It will be cheaper for people to just sit at home and buy online.”

Councillor Ian Gardner, chairman of St Neots Town Council’s operations committee, said it was due to discuss the issue yesterday (Tuesday).

He added: “If you keep putting the prices up you deter people coming into town.

“What happens next is you get fewer people coming and shops start to close because they’ve got no customers. My view is we should object.”

John Davies, chairman of St Neots Town Initiative, said people who wanted to buy goods were still likely to visit.

He added: “Obviously it is not welcome but everyone is very much aware of the economic circumstances in which it has been done.”

A CCC spokesman said: “The parking charges haven’t been reviewed for 16 years and that’s why we have reviewed them and put them up.

“We have made it easier for people to park for shorter times so they only have to pay for the time they are there.”

He explained the charges were intended to bring the cost in line with the cost to the taxpayer for the county to provide parking.

INFORMATION: To comment, email CCC, quoting reference PR00109, via policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

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