A hike in parking charges put in place across the isle in April is to be re-examined.
Cabinet members at Thanet council will discuss the charges, which are now £4 per hour in some car parks, after members of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel made recommendations to lower the charge of the first hour’s parking.
The compromise suggestion followed the submission of a petition by Broadstairs resident Roy Irving.
The petition states: “We the undersigned petition the Council to: We want Thanet District Council to reconsider their increase in parking charges for 2017. Especially in relation to the increase in off street car park charges.
“Thanet relies on tourism and visitors and the excessive price increases will have a detrimental effect on visitor numbers. The increase for the first hour of parking from £1.60 to £4.00 is not justified and as well as deterring visitors it may also stop people shopping locally where the car parks are in town centres. Thanet needs to encourage tourism and these new charges can only have a negative effect.”
The hike to £4 for the first hour’s parking affects five seasonal car parks, with the higher rate in place from 1 April – 31 October, and one all year around car park.
Albion Street, Broadstairs.
Chandos Square, Broadstairs.
Broadstairs Harbour, Broadstairs.
Joss Bay, Broadstairs.
Marine Esplanade, Ramsgate.
Dreamland Margate also has the £4 first hour charge which is in place all year around.
Two options have been put forward:
To reduce the first hour to £2, which Thanet council says will result in a loss of £20,000 or £2.50 for the first hour which will result in a £10,000 loss of income.
The cost for additional time – up to £12 for the day/5 hours – would remain unchanged.
Vote to revert
Councillors at the scrutiny meeting noted that the increase in the parking charges for 2017/18 were necessitated by the decrease in funding from central government but felt reverting to the 2016/17 parking charges could in turn attract more visitors and hence more revenue.
They also suggested more parking spaces, particularly in busier parking areas, could be installed with parking meters; the new parking charges would not necessarily increase revenue from that source and that there is a need to consider both on-street and off-street parking at the same time in order to come up with a fair and realistic price structure.
Councillor Peter Campbell proposed, Councillor Ash Ashbee seconded and the Panel recommended that Cabinet revert to the 2016/17 parking charges for the five seasonal car parks and find the resulting shortfall from adjustments in other service areas.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Chris Wells, said: “The Overview and Scrutiny Panel recently made recommendations following a petition of 829 signatures on increases to summer parking charges in five car parks.
“They considered a proposal from officers to introduce a compromise position which would lower the charge for the first hour as this had generated such a strong public response.
“Cabinet will be meeting shortly to reconsider this matter in light of these discussions and to consider the officer recommendation.”
An entrepreneurial farmer in Joss Bay is helping motorists beat the costs by offering parking on his field for £5 a day. Dreamland has also opened Arlington car park with parking for £7 a day.