PLANS to introduce a two-hour minimum stay in some Huntingdonshire car parks have been dropped ... but motorists will still face a price increase.

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The unpopular plan, which would have seen a minimum charge of £1.20 in many Huntingdonshire District Council car parks, has been replaced following a public consultation.

Waiting in the wings is another plan to get motorists paying more to park in St Neots, St Ives and Huntingdon.

The one hour charge will increase to 80p an hour – up 20p or 33 per cent. The increase is due to start in March.

However, there was also some good news – HDC will not start charging in its car parks on Sundays, and Ramsey will remain a fee-free town.

Councillor Nick Guyatt, deputy executive leader at HDC, said: “We believe all consultations are more than just a process that we have to go through, and as a result we are changing our proposals.

“The majority of the 85 respondents to our original proposals were concerned that by taking away the one hour charging option, fewer people would shop in our market towns which would detract from our local economy.

“Therefore, we will maintain the one-hour parking option across Huntingdonshire.

“The business community, however, is keen that people shop for longer, hence the two-hour charge remains at the same rate (£1.20). Our parking charges are still low in comparison to other districts. I hope that we will all support our local businesses as much as we can by continuing to shop locally.”

Katie Williams, St Neots town centre manager, said: “It’s disappointing to hear that HDC will increase the one hour charge.

“However, it is positive news that the minimum parking time has not been increased – shoppers will still be able to pop into town and collect their essentials within the hour.”

Katy Sismore, of BID Huntingdon, added: “I am really pleased that the district council has reconsidered and in particular kept the two-hour stay at the same rate.

“While it is regrettable it has gone up, it is a good compromise considering the critical time in the national and local economy.”

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