THE COST of parking outside Warwickshire homes with residential permit schemes is to double, if a recommendation to the County Council is approved.
The On-street Parking Management Cross Party Working Group has recommended increasing the cost of an annual permit from £25 to £50 – and trebling the cost of households’ second and guest permits to £75 each.
Third permits will no longer be allowed, to ‘ease demand in busier permit zones’ due to the lack of space on smaller terraced streets, particularly in Rugby and Stratford.
In October 2020, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) abandoned unpopular plans to either raise the fee to a flat rate of £80 per permit or charge £30 for a first permit and £50 for second and third permits.
But in the new report to WCC’s Cabinet, principal parking enforcement officer Jon Rollinson said: “The economy is now emerging from the effects of the pandemic and the reason for the decision to hold permit prices in October 2020 has substantially diminished.”
The report states current charges do not meet the cost of administering the permit scheme, and an external review found the cost would be met if permits were priced at £63 each.
It says the recommended price hike would generate extra annual revenue of around £450,000, and bring charges in line with other local authorities.
However, the Council’s overall Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) scheme, which includes the permit scheme, generates an annual surplus of just over £2million, which the council says is continually re-invested in public passenger transport services, highway improvement projects and environmental improvements.
The report said: “Permit schemes create a benefit for residents. Residents do not have legal priority over parking places in the roads near their homes unless the County Council makes and enforces a permit scheme.
“If the residents who benefit do not recompense the County Council for the cost of the scheme, other members of the community are subsidising the cost of providing them with their parking places.
“The parking account would remain in surplus overall even if no charges were made for residents’ permits. However, it would be lawful and reasonable to increase permit charges as proposed by the cross-party working group.”
Coun Sarah Feeney, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group at WCC and Ward Councillor for Benn Ward in Rugby, said: “We are incredibly concerned by the huge increase in charges and are meeting with officers to understand why the scheme is so costly to administer.
“We know the the cost-of-living crisis is very real – and this will compound it.”
The cost-of-living crisis is already set to hit Warwickshire residents hard, with WCC and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner raising average Council Tax bills for the year ahead by around £67 combined, and borough and district councils also raising their shares.
This is in addition to rocketing energy bills, a forthcoming rise in National Insurance, higher interest rates, and spiralling inflation.
WCC’s Cabinet will vote on the parking recommendations at a meeting on Thursday March 10. If approved, the changes will be put out to public consultation.
More reaction to follow.