Monday afternoon was spent being fed back the results of the consultation into parking changes and charges that we have just conducted.

Now car parking is always an emotive subject to most people. And I admit sometimes I can be a bit dispassionate about these issues as a non driver, which is why when thinking about such items I always like to have other people to bounce ideas off. In this instance both my Deputy Leader Simon Carter and the Chairman of the Environment and Community Committee Eddie Johnson.

We had consulted originally on 20p for first half hour, but had said at the launch of the consultation that we ourselves favoured the first half hour being free. Having read the results of the consultation there is clearly the need for a period of time to be free or low cost, so that people are able to nip to their local shopping areas and buy a loaf of bread and some milk, grab lunch or put a bet on; all the sorts of things that people do at a local shopping areas. It was also clear that there were people who were abusing the parking at the moment, for whom steeper longer term parking charges are needed to dissuade them away from these parking areas.

So in the end we have settled on making the first hour free, which should enable any one to grab a few bits even if their mobility is severely restricted, and I hope people will be happy with. We have also suggested making the charge for between one and two hours parking 60p, with progressively steeper charges for over two hours.

I am sure not everyone will be happy but I don’t think when you talk about car parking charges everyone ever is.

For me though its important that we have listened to the consultation.

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