Public consultation starts on parking charge rises in Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable
But could charging hours be reduced from 8am to 6pm (Mon-Sat) to 9am-5pm (Mon-Sat)?
Residents and businesses are being encouraged to have their say on a proposed car parking fee rise and other changes to charges across Central Bedfordshire.
The 12-week consultation covers prices for parking in 14 Central Bedfordshire Council owned and managed car parks and 20 resident parking zones.
In recognition of the impact the changing shopper habits and the pandemic has had on businesses the council is proposing to protect businesses as much as possible from proposed increase by freezing the charges for business or employee permits, market trader permits. But it is suggesting a 50p increase for most time bands in the bulk of its car parks.
The council is also proposing to keep its Wednesday afternoon of free parking (from 1.30pm) at the Duncombe Drive car park in Leighton Buzzard and on a Tuesday afternoon (from 1.30pm) at Ashton Square car park in Dunstable and maintain free parking in all car parks after 6pm.
Free parking on Sundays is set to continue in the majority of its car parks with charges only applying at Steppingley Road, Flitwick, and the multi-storey car park in Leighton Buzzard.
As well as receiving feedback on these specific proposals, the council says it is interested in exploring other ideas and suggestions that could be introduced which would have minimal impact in terms of reduced income to the council but could be beneficial for residents and businesses. For example, they could reduce the hours the council charges for car parking – the current charging hours are from 8am to 6pm (Mon-Sat) but this could be reduced to 9am-5pm (Mon-Sat).
The council currently operates Resident Parking Zones and other types of restrictions to address local parking issues. However, the fee charged for permits does not cover the costs of running the schemes, so some increased charges are proposed.
The additional income from increasing the charges would be invested in further improvements such as the use of Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) vehicles and fixed cameras which will improve efficiency, monitor, and improve road safety.
Executive Member for Community Services, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, said: “I would like to encourage all residents to participate and tell us what they think of the proposals and also make suggestions on other options we could consider.
“A well planned and managed approach to parking can help make our towns and local communities better places to live, work and visit. We are therefore asking people to have their say on how we manage parking pricing and the investment priorities that we should be focusing on.
"Please take the time to fill in the survey - it should only take five minutes but could make a real difference to your community."
You can find more information including the proposed fees and charges at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.
Paper copies of the consultation summary document and questionnaire can be requested by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300 300 8301.
The consultation ends on November 14. Feedback and options will be reviewed by the council's Executive committee in February 2022.