Chesterfield Borough Council under fire after increasing car parking charges

Liberal Democrat councillors have blasted increases to car parking charges in Chesterfield.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 10:49 am
Chesterfield Borough Council.
Chesterfield Borough Council.

On Monday, Labour councillors at Chesterfield Borough Council voted to up prices at the authority’s car parks to bring in an extra £143,000.

According to the borough council, the ‘relatively small’ increases will help the authority to ‘maintain a balanced budget’ and ‘protect essential services’.

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But Councillor Paul Holmes, of the Liberal Democrats, is unhappy with the hikes.

He said: “The effects of Covid are not over yet even if things may soon start to ease.

“If we want the town centre to recover, then we should not be putting shoppers off with any increases this year – let alone such above inflation increases.

“Car park use fell during Covid as shoppers stayed away and lockdowns were in force – unless you were partying in Downing Street, of course.

“Now extra competition from the new Glass Yard centre opposite the football ground is drawing businesses and shoppers away with lower rents and two hours’ free parking.

“On top of that there is the hit to everyone’s pockets that is coming with the huge hike in energy costs and the Governments National Insurance tax increase, plus the already ended £20 uplift in Universal Credit.”

He added: “On December 16, the Government announced the 2022-23 financial settlement for councils.

“It was more generous than had been expected and Chesterfield Borough Council is receiving almost £1.4million more than they had expected or planned for.

“The borough council could freeze parking charges, absorb the £143,000 extra they want to take from shoppers and still have more than £1.2m extra, unexpected cash in the bank.

“It’s time to lead by example instead of just blaming everything on someone else and demanding that someone else take action.”

A borough council spokesperson said: “We understand the concerns about the relatively small increase in parking charges.

“However, we review every two years and the price has not been increased recently.

“With the ongoing financial challenges created by Covid-19, this relatively small rise will help contribute to the council maintaining a balanced budget – and ultimately protect the essential services that local people and businesses value and rely on.

“Even with this relatively small increase our parking charges would remain in line with other similarly sized towns, and we will also once again be providing residents with a permit that allows free parking at certain times.

“If people were to use this to park every week for just two hours, they could save around £140 a year, and our last review showed these permits were used by around 70 per cent of residents.

“Our town centre is the heart of our borough and we’re investing to secure its future.

“This includes improvement works like Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield which will see a transformation of the town centre, and we have also funded a wide variety of town centre events which aim to increase the number of people visiting our town.

“We also support local businesses through projects like the Digital High Street which aims to help retailers to trade online and further increase their sales.”

What are the new charges?

- 90p for up to 30 minutes (up from the current 80p)

- £1.70 for up to one hour (up from the current £1.60)

- £3 for up to two hours (up from the current £2.80)

- £3.20 for up to three hours (up from the current £3)

- £4.80 for up to four hours (up from the current £4.50)

- £1.70 for each hour after in short-stay car parks (up from the current £1.60)

- £5.30 for four hours plus in long-stay car parks (up from the current £5)

- £5.30 for four to five hours in Saltergate multi-storey car park (up from the current £5)

- £6.50 for over five hours/up to 24 hours in Saltergate multi-storey car park (up from £6)

- an annual parking permit will increase from £620 to £660, a monthly permit will increase from £62 to £66 and scratchcards will increase from £3.60 to £3.80

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