TOWN centre parking charges in Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots will increase by two-thirds from September, in defiance of pleas from Huntingdon traders not to put their recovery at risk. Huntingdonshire District Council s cabinet last week confirmed the
TOWN centre parking charges in Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots will increase by two-thirds from September, in defiance of pleas from Huntingdon traders not to put their recovery at risk.
Huntingdonshire District Council's cabinet last week confirmed the legal orders authorising the charges, which will make off-street parking more expensive than on-street.
The first-hour 30p charge will go up to 50p, with two hours costing £1 instead of 60p now. Some edge-of-town-centre charges will double overnight, and charging will be introduced for the first time at the Riverside car park in Huntingdon and Bridge Place in Godmanchester, the site of the former district council depot.
Traders and their representatives had urged HDC to opt for a lower range of increases, as the cabinet had originally planned - to 40p and 80p for the first one and two hours in town centres - to encourage shoppers into the market town centres.
But council leader Councillor Ian Bates urged members to ignore those entreaties because there had been no protests from St Neots, St Ives or Ramsey - in the last of those towns parking is free anyway.
Councillor Deborah Reynolds sought to justify the increases on the basis that it was the first rise for four years - an average cost inflation over that period of more than 16 per cent a year, compared with the consumer prices index average of less than three per cent.
The changes mean that town centre car park charges will have risen by 150 per cent in four years - it cost 20p to park for an hour in summer 2004.