Parking levy for tourism fund ‘not in line with policy’

Parking in Quarry Car Park, Craster
Parking in Quarry Car Park, Craster

A call by a parish council on the Northumberland coast to create a ring-fenced tourism fund by adding a levy to car-parking charges looks to have been unsuccessful.

As we reported earlier this year, Craster Parish Council presented a petition to the north area committee which aimed to tackle the gap between a small precept due to a dwindling number of residents and expenditure to provide facilities for a growing number of tourists.

Craster was one of a small number of parishes which elected to keep charges when the previous county council allowed local decisions on free parking.

The proposal was to add 50p to the cost of a short-stay ticket and £1 to an all-day ticket, making the costs £1 for one hour, £1.50 for two hours, £2 for three hours and £3 all day.

Of this extra cash, 10 per cent would go to the county council to cover administration, 20 per cent to the county councillor for the wider ward area and 70 per cent to the parish council.

The petition was endorsed by the north area committee, but officers ruled that as the petition had a county-wide strategic impact, it could not be accepted and must go before the council’s petitions committee.

A report to yesterday’s meeting of this committee stated: ‘Accepting this proposal for the raising of income from parking to be retained by the parish council for use on wider infrastructure for a particular location is not felt to be an appropriate solution at this time and would potentially establish a precedent across all NCC car parks.’

It said that the council is instead minded ‘to work with the parish council and local community to assist them in securing alternative sources of funding and to further discuss any improvements/activity that could form part of NCC capital and maintenance programmes where appropriate’.