Car park income to hit £1m a year

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Harborough District Council could soon be getting £1million a year in income from its car parks.

The council’s car parks in Market Harborough and Lutterworth already bring in just over £800,000 per annum, of which 71 per cent was surplus in 2015/16, after maintenance costs.

Now a consultants’ report recommends increasing the charges to bring the town in line with nearby towns like Melton, Rugby, Corby and Kettering.

The increases recommended could bring in another £200,000 for the cash-strapped council.

The recommendations in the consultants’ report say:

* Increase charges for up to two hours in a short-stay car park from 70p to £1.

* Increase charges for up to four hours in a short-stay car park from £1.70 to £2.50.

* Increase charges for more than four hours in a long -stay car park from £2.20 to £4.

The council’s regulatory services manager Elaine Bird reminded councillors on the Resource and Performance Scrutiny Panel that charges had been frozen for four years.

The report also recommended introducing charges to the Symington Recreation Ground car park, off St Mary’s Road in Harborough.

The cost of parking permits could also rise.

But the report recommended that Sunday car park charges should not be introduced.

And councillors will look at removing charges for bank holidays.

Councillors broadly agreed with the recommendations at last Thursday’s meeting, with one exception.

Cllr Grahame Spendlove-Mason said the two-hour charge in short-stay car parks should “stick at 70p”.

Cllr Paul Dann asked officers to look at the difference holding at 70p would make to car park income.

In a survey, residents had asked for pay-on-exit car parks in the district.

Councillors were told these were more expensive to run, and could cause traffic jams.