Parking consultation ignores price rises

A COUNTY consultation about parking tariffs has been criticised for ignoring potential charge increases.

The shake-up of the system would change time limits for spaces in Morpeth, increasing the maximum stay from two to three hours in some car parks.

Spaces in Newmarket East, which are currently limited to five hours, would be available all day, while spaces at Morpeth Library would change from all-day to up to three hours.

But Northumberland County Council has not said if there will be a rise in charges, despite setting budgets to make £547,000 from parking revenue.

Conservative group Leader Peter Jackson said: “The consultation ends tomorrow and I don’t think many people in Morpeth will have heard that it is happening.

“They are likely to find it meaningless when there is no proposed hourly charge to go with the new tariffs and for this reason it seems to us that it is fundamentally flawed.

“This means that the administration will be able to increase parking charges in the autumn and say the changes are based on tariffs which have gone through public consultation. We believe residents will be outraged if this turns out to be the case.

“There is also no attempt to rectify the problem of fairness. In Northumberland, the burden of charging for car parking is being placed on the residents of just a few market towns.

“Until the council finds a way to address this issue, we will not be able to support any of the details being proposed.”

Under the plans, nine high-demand car parks have been given a medium-stay classification, ranging from 30 minutes to three hours, and flexible-stay facilities further from the centre will range from 30 minutes to all day.

Council Head of Sustainable Transport Mike Scott said: “We have been consulting on proposed changes to parking durations in charged parking areas across the county.

“The changes to tariff structures have been proposed following a number of issues raised throughout the parking review and the consultation carried out in developing the new parking strategy. With regard to any changes on parking charges, this matter is still under discussion and no decisions have been taken yet. Any increases will be announced in due course.”

To respond to the consultation visit http://traffic consult.northumberland.gov.uk