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Proposed parking fee rises may be capped

Proposed parking fee rises of up to 50 percent that were due to hit motorists on 1 November may now be put on hold after Luton Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Board formally asked the ruling Labour Executive to reconsider their decision.

  • Fees agreed by the Labour Executive in a decision last month included:
  • A 25% rise in the cost of parking in Bute Street on Saturdays, from £1.60 to £2.00
  • Rises of over 20% for 2 hours weekday parking in Bute Street or Vicarage Street
  • Parking in Wenlock Street Car Park on Saturdays costing 50% more
  • A hike of over 20% in weekday parking charges in Hitchin Road Car Park – to £4.00
  • 11 different on-street parking tariffs with rises averaging about 30%

At a meeting on Wednesday 12 October, councillors from all 3 political groups and 2 independent Scrutiny Board members agreed to refer the decision back to the Executive with a request that:

  • The highest rises, especially those over 20 percent, should be revised downwards
  • Local shops and businesses should be consulted before any further increases
  • Car Park and On-street parking fees should be simplified, with fewer different rate

Evidence supplied by Council officers to the meeting to try to justify the rises revealed that some proposed rates for 1 or 2 hours parking were higher than in Milton Keynes.

Barnfield Lib Dem councillor Martin Pantling, who ‘called in’ the decision, said:

“ I’m delighted that the Overview and Scrutiny Board, comprising councillors of all parties and independent members, has rejected the huge rises that Labour were proposing.”

“ People are already being deterred from shopping locally by closed roads and diversions, so the last thing that shops, businesses or residents need is for the Council to start profiteering just before Christmas, having consulted absolutely nobody.”

“ The Labour Executive must now decide whether to accept the clear steer they’ve been given or insist on making £60,000 a year more from rises of up to 10 times inflation. I hope they’ll limit the charges for now, then aim for fewer charging bands which will be more cost-efficient to collect. This will help Luton residents, shops and businesses.”

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