Parking consultation sheds no light on price increases

A policeman inspects the cars parked in Alnwick Market Place.
A policeman inspects the cars parked in Alnwick Market Place.

A public consultation on parking charges has been branded an ‘outrageous failure’ in redressing the balance between towns in Northumberland.

The county council invited comments on a new pricing structure for its car parks, as well as a shake-up of time-limits in towns such as Alnwick, Morpeth, Hexham and Berwick.

But there are still no plans to introduce tariffs to car parks in the south east of the authority.

Alnwick’s county councillor, Gordon Castle, says the Lib Dem-led strategy fails to explain what new charges are to be imposed, despite a budgetary recovery plan that shows an increase in parking revenue.

“This increase can only come from those towns presently bearing the brunt of charges,” he said. “This is an outrageous failure to right an obvious wrong, despite all the public criticism and the council’s warm words about level playing fields. Why can’t they just tell us now what they are proposing to charge and where?”

The council’s head of sustainable transport, Mike Scott, said: “The changes to tariff structures have been proposed following a number of issues raised throughout the parking review and the consultation carried out in developing the new parking strategy. With regard to any changes on parking charges, this matter is still under discussion and no decisions have been taken yet. Any increases will be announced in due course.”