Talks due on parking price freeze plan

Car park prices look set to freeze in 2015/16.
Car park prices look set to freeze in 2015/16.

Car parking prices in the Lancaster district look set to freeze for the first time in years.

Lancaster City Council has been asked not to increase its car park pay-and-display fees in 2015/16.

The last time off-street car parking charges were frozen was in _____.

A report by council officers said freezing parking ticket prices “may help promote increased use of car parks in the district and in Lancaster following completion of the United Utilities road works.”

Last year the city council increased most short and long stay parking fees.

They also brought in 24 hour parking charges, hiked up permit prices by 5%, introduced Bank Holiday parking charges in Lancaster and increased the one hour charge at the Festival Market in Morecambe by 10p.

But the report says that works to upgrade Lancaster’s sewer system, which ended in November 2014 and disrupted access to car parks at St Nicholas Arcades and Cable Street, have made it difficult to assess the impact of last year’s price rise.

Overall usage of car parks is reducing year on year, especially in Morecambe. Only Lancaster long stay car parks have seen an increase in use.

Sales of parking permits have reduced by 5%.

“If parking charges are too high spaces will be underused and...if they are too low demand for spaces will increase to a level which makes them difficult to find and increase congestion,” says the report.

The council may start charging for parking on public holidays, to bring fees into line with Morecambe. This had previously been approved but was overturned after complaints.

They are also looking to increase permit charges with an incremental year-on-year increase of £5 in zones where they currently cost £25 per year, to bring them into line with most zones where the annual permit charge is £40.

The city council raked in more than £2.4m from parking charges in 2014/15.

Lancashire County Council has not yet released information on the cost of on-street parking in 2015/16.

The city council cabinet will meet on January 20 to make a decision on whether to freeze car parking charges.

Meanwhile a new scheme where motorists can use their mobile phone to pay for parking tickets is due to be launched in spring 2015.

People will be able to use an app or access a website to buy tickets for council car parks, or ‘top up’ their parking time.

It will be free of charge to register and calls will be charged at local rate.