Lancaster man’s petition urges council to u-turn on parking charge rise

A Lancaster resident has set up a petition asking Lancaster City Council to u-turn on its decision to increase parking charges.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 9:29 am

New car parking charges came into force for Lancaster and Morecambe car parks from April 1, with night-time charges to increase in May.

It now costs £1 to park for 30 minutes, £2 for an hour, £4 for three hours, £9 for nine hours and £12 for 24 hours in a city council car park.

Colin Hewitt launched the petition, which already has hundreds of signatures.

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Lancaster City Council parking charges increased this month.

He said: "These charges will not be helpful and will only serve to drive people away from shopping or spending leisure time in Lancaster at the expense of the shops and leisure industries who are trying to come from the damage caused by the pandemic.

"The council also states that one of the reasons for the increase is that we are all facing a climate emergency and by changing people’s travel habits away from private car journeys to more sustainable forms of travel will help reduce CO2 emissions and have a positive impact in air quality.

"This would be fine if the county had decent public transport to make the change.

"Therefore I am asking people to sign this petition to show the disgust that local residents feel regarding the charges."

On the petition, residents have given the reasons for supporting Colin's stance.

Sally Boocock said: "The retail businesses will suffer as a result of increased charges as people will either not come in to town or will visit quickly and leave. Prices are way too high."

Karen Younger said: "It is killing the businesses in Lancaster and Morecambe."

Sarah Walker said: "The council has clearly not listened to residents, shop-owners, visitors. The car parking charge increase is ridiculous and will make people think twice about using what's left of Lancaster's retail and hospitality."

Julie Nicklin said: "The price of parking has affected my family who work in town dearly."

And Michael McTague said: "Let’s bring people in rather than discouraging them."

Dawn Altham posted: "Far too expensive. A night at the theatre or cinema or a meal out is expensive enough. The cost of parking will have an adverse effect on footfall in the towns and businesses will struggle."

Coun Gina Dowding, cabinet member with responsibility for planning and place making, said: “For some time now it has been apparent that our parking charges have needed a radical overhaul.

“We were in the position where we had 47 different tariff bands and adjacent car parks charged different amounts for similar amounts of time.

“With this parking review we’ve tried to consolidate the tariffs and make the tariff structure easier to understand.“As is the case for many councils we are in a challenging financial position and the money raised from parking is a vital source of income that funds many of our vital services.

“Since the original proposal was made, the city council has listened to the feedback of various stakeholders and has amended some of the tariffs.”

Coun Dowding added: “I do understand that many people are concerned about the increase in costs either because of the effect on their own outgoings or the impact on the city centre.

"Some additional information may reassure people: The petition is not recognising the £4 evening/overnight charge valid anytime from 6pm until 8am every night. This late amendment was based on feedback from the hospitality sector, but unfortunately the new signage cannot be amended until this is takes effect in a couple of weeks.

"I have asked for the signage to make it clear that this evening overnight tariff is coming (and meanwhile it is free)as soon as this has been formally approved.

"The petition doesn’t acknowledge the £5 for five hours on St Leonardgate car parks at all times which was introduced after feedback from the theatres in that quarter.

“Importantly I would like to flag up that for our district’s residents who are regular users of the car parks there a range of specific permits – weekly, monthly, six monthly and 12 monthly session permits.

"They bring the daily price down hugely – and can work out to as little as £2.28 or less per day a day across the district. These permits, also available to visitors, are available to purchase either on RingGo app and some of them via the parking office.

“The council’s income is recycled into providing crucial and valued services. For example, as a council we provide funding over and above our statutory requirements to the arts and culture sector and museums, key voluntary sector organisations, and on the quality of our parks.

"The tariffs have not increased since 2018. For my part I would not expect the basic tariffs to rise again next year.

“While there are some towns where car parking is cheaper, there are also examples of towns and cities where parking costs are higher. As a council we will be able to monitor our car park usage and compare with previous years.”

The petition can be found online here.