Tickety - BOO!<br><br>
Parking charges in Royston could increase by 40 per cent, shocked councillors were told on Monday evening. However, they heard that figure had not been set in stone" but had been quoted in this year's North Herts District Council budget. The threat
Parking charges in Royston could increase by 40 per cent, shocked councillors were told on Monday evening. However, they heard that figure had not been "set in stone" but had been quoted in this year's North Herts District Council budget. The threat of the rise comes a week after support was given to a town centre parking plan which would see radical changes in the scheme. Town councillors were angered at the thought of an increase when the issue was raised during a meeting of the highways and transport committee. Town councillor Rod Kennedy said: "What the district council needs to decide is whether car parking is a service for the public or a money-making venture. "I've got no objection that it should cover its costs but at the moment it's just a cash cow." Cllr Kennedy said it was a case of supply and demand, and if the parking charges were too high, people would stop coming into Royston. "If they put the parking charges up they might actually generate less revenue. There's a wealth of evidence that says putting parking charges up doesn't always work," he said. The proposals are contained in the district council's budget, which was approved on Thursday. Town councillor Mike Harrison said he thought Royston was "poorly served" by public transport, forcing people to come into town by car. "People who come into Royston have to use their own transport - most people don't use public transport because it doesn't exist," he said. "None of them can get into Royston and we need to encourage them here. The only way we can do that is to reflect it in the parking charges. "We should probably lower the parking rates - that would help our own shopkeepers," he said. District councillor Bill Davidson told members that 40 per cent was an average figure for North Herts and would not necessarily apply to Royston. He said he would be working to make sure the increase was as low as possible in the town. And district councillor Fiona Hill said the figure of 40 per cent was not "set in stone". She said: "The budget was agreed in principle but parking, and one or two other details, are coming back to the Royston area committee." The district council's Royston area committee will discuss the parking charges next month.