08/07/2024: Breckland Council proposes to reform how residents and users pay for car parks

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A proposal to reform the way public car parking is paid for is being put before Breckland Council's Cabinet on 15 July 2024.

The Council, which owns 30 car parks across the district, currently covers the significant maintenance and operating costs through existing budgets, meaning that everyone in the district - regardless of whether they use the facilities - pays for this service.  However, like most councils across the country, Breckland is facing budget pressures which are forcing it to take a fresh look at its services and how they are funded.

Introducing parking tariffs similar to those already charged in most other Norfolk market towns - is one of the key recommendations from an independent report and feasibility study commissioned by the Council to help it consider alternative management options.  The report's key findings were that the Council's car parks represented a significant financial cost - around £450k per year - to its budgets without delivering an effective service, suggesting instead that car parking costs should be funded by those who benefit directly from using them.  

The proposal would see charges similar to, or more affordable than, comparable market towns. Each market town will have one car park offering the first hour's parking for free, with tariffs between 50p and £1 for the first chargeable hour across the district.  Not only would this help cover the running costs of providing car parking facilities across the district, it would also encourage a more regular turnover of parking spaces, making it easier for everyone to park.    And with more available spaces, and greater footfall, the Council believes this not only will create more potential trade for local businesses, but also protect budget allocations for more vulnerable residents at the same time. 

Should the proposal be approved at Breckland's Cabinet on 15 July, a period of public consultation would follow in the coming months, giving members of the public the opportunity to feed back on the proposals for each market town.

Cllr Paul Hewett, Breckland Council's Executive Member for Property, Projects, and Procurement commented: "Like most councils, we are facing budget pressures which are forcing us to take a fresh look at our services and how they are funded. In the case of our car parks, introducing a paid parking system - funded by those who benefit most from it - feels like the fairest, and most affordable way to do this.  

"Evidence also suggests that this approach could also result in an increase in footfall, and importantly trade, for local businesses in our market towns by encouraging a greater turnover of spaces. 

"We recognise money is tight for many people right now, so this is not an easy decision, but by charging just a small fee for parking we would not only protect our public car parking facilities for the long term, but also our ability to invest in other vital community services." 

If you would like any further information on the proposed changes, please visit - www.breckland.gov.uk/car-parks/policychange 

Last updated: 08/07/2024 13:30:38