Plans to increase the cost of on-street parking across Warwickshire have been put on hold so that further consultation can take place with town centre business groups.
And changes to parking permits could also be re-examined after councillors at yesterday’s (Thursday) cabinet meeting of Warwickshire County Council pointed out that they would have an adverse effect on those running bed and breakfasts and those who required regular visits from carers and nursing staff.
A report outlining the changes proposed that the cost of street parking across the county should be 60p for every half hour up to a maximum of two hours. For most areas that would have meant a ten per cent increase but drivers in Kenilworth would have faced a 20 per cent hike. The cheapest parking would be 30p for a 15-minute stay.
But while borough and district councils had been consulted, nothing had been mentioned to the various chambers of trade or business improvement districts (BIDs) that look after the interests of town centre businesses.
Cllr Sarah Boad (Lib Dem Leamington North) said: “I was contacted yesterday by the BID managers from Stratford and Leamington who have not been consulted and the chamber of trade has not been consulted so they are not feeling very happy.
“I don’t think anyone has missed the fact that our town centres are under enormous pressure so even a rise of 20p for two hours parking is too much.
“I would like to see us either pause this rise or come back and say 'we’re listening, would like to meet with you and we’ll improve the service'. I went past a broken machine yesterday and you can’t pay by credit card so I’d like to see some improvements to the service.
“I think there is a feeling that this is money being made and not a service being offered.”
Cllr Jeff Clarke (Con Nuneaton East), the portfolio holder for transport and planning, said there had only been one small increase over the last six years.
He added: “It is a very emotive subject and one that’s not easily solved. We’ll be happy to meet with the chambers and I think it’s been a slight omission on our part so I would propose that we defer for another round of consultation on this. While we have done that with the districts and boroughs we haven’t done it with the businesses and BIDs so it’s important we pick that up.”