Lib Dem councillors have slammed county council plans for an 88% price increase on visitor parking permits within Cambridge’s 16 existing controlled parking zones.
Residents living within these zones can purchase day permits for their visitors, currently at a cost of £1.60 per day. This figure is set to rise to £3 (or £15 for 5). Figures released by the council show they expect to issue around 130,000 of these day permits next year, producing an extra £120,000 compared with the current year.
The increase is part of a package of County Council proposals being put to the Cambridge Area Joint Committee later today (Tuesday), which also includes a 19-22% (depending on parking zone) increase on the annual permits that residents display in their own cars.
The Lib Dems want to see an inflation-only increase in the price of both residents’ and visitors’ permits. That would be roughly 15% since the last price increase in 2011.
Cllr Amanda Taylor, the Lib Dems’ committee spokesperson, says: “The Council's new prices for visitors' permits are almost double! This is over the top and will hit many residents, but especially the elderly and less mobile, who rely on visits from friends and family. These visitors should obviously be able to stay for a cup of tea without facing a big bill.
“And many elderly and less mobile people need to use a car when they are visiting friends and family around the city. This kind of visiting is part of a normal social life, but a £3 charge may force some people to cut down on it.
The Lib Dems also object to the thinking that lies behind the proposed increase, which is to match visitor permit prices to Park & Ride fares.
“Up to now, residents’ parking scheme charges have been based on the cost of administering and enforcing the schemes”, says Cllr Damien Tunnacliffe. “That’s fair and it’s also the law. The law doesn’t permit the county council to use residents’ parking schemes to make money, but that’s clearly what will happen if this plan is approved.
“And the irony is that, right now, the county council is consulting the public about 4 new residents’ parking schemes, and the City Deal is desperate for more communities to opt for residents’ parking. Why would people do that if they know the county council is willing to impose enormous and random huge price increases like this.”