Rethink parking charges’

PUBLISHED: 11:12 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

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North Herts District Council logo

COUNCILLORS are demanding a review of car parking charges in Royston. They want the issue raised when Cabinet members of North Herts District Council meet later this month. The demand comes in the wake of an increase to car parking charges in Royston. Cll

COUNCILLORS are demanding a review of car parking charges in Royston.

They want the issue raised when Cabinet members of North Herts District Council meet later this month.

The demand comes in the wake of an increase to car parking charges in Royston.

Cllr Fiona Hill, chairman of the district council's Royston area committee, was adamant that the Cabinet should discuss the issue now, and not wait until the outcome of a survey which is planned to examine the impact of the new charges.

She said the district council had to be placed in a position where it would "rethink the policy".

The increase in car parking charges has seen a 700-signature protest petition handed in to the committee.

And there has been concern that traders in the town centre would suffer as customers looked elsewhere and abandoned the area.

The district council's budget called for an increase of £62,000 from car parking charges in the next 12 months.

Cllr Elizabeth Beardwell said there had to be "conclusive evidence" that traders were suffering as a result of increased car parking charges.

Car parking charges, however, have been blamed in a survey by the Royston and District Chamber of Commerce and a report on market towns as leading to a decline in town centre business.

Cllr Hunter said: "Trade is losing money and we are in desperate need of a retail assessment."

Members of the committee have been told that there is no evidence that car parking charges and loss of trade are linked.

Cllr Richard Thake, portfolio holder for transport, said as much when he met members during a scrutiny committee meeting when the issue was discussed.

Since then a number of councillors have had a behind-closed-doors discussion with Cllr Thake on the issue.

Cllr F John Smith, the leader of the council, and a member of the Royston area committee, said there had been a call for a report on the impact of new parking charges.

He said "We want to see whether there has been an effect, and see whether there has been a reduction in people using the car parks.

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