£1.5million build could add new tier and 130 spaces to open air Northampton car park

The car park in Commercial Street could have a new tier added to create 130 new spaces.
The car park in Commercial Street could have a new tier added to create 130 new spaces.

A new tier could be built on a Northampton town centre car park to add around 130 parking spaces.

The borough council has set aside £1.5million in their 2018/19 budget to add a new level to the open air Commercial Street car park, off St Peter's Way.

Cabinet member for finance Brandon Eldred.

Cabinet member for finance Brandon Eldred.

The council will seek planning permission for the build in the new year.

But the announcement comes alongside new plans to raise the price of all-day parking in the town to £8, and introduce a £2 charge on weekends.

This is despite a Tory manifesto pledge in 2014 to "guarantee free parking for four years."

Cabinet member for finance Branden Eldred said: "There will be free parking for two hours between Monday and Friday.

"We are still offering free parking in Northampton. We weren't specific in our manifesto.

"We want to encourage people to pop into town at lunchtime. We know the new charges will be unpopular with some shoppers and businesses but we have to give and take."

The new £2 charges has been introduced to deal with drivers who "abuse the system" by parking in the town over the weekends for free and taking spaces away from customers.

Labour party critics have accused the borough council of breaking election promises by introducing the charges.

Cllr Danielle Stone, leader of the Guildhall's Labour group, said: “The Tories have broken a key manifesto pledge they made at the last election. Free parking was one of the main attractions for coming into the town centre.

"I am greatly concerned this will negatively impact on town centre footfall. I really hope this increase in parking charges doesn’t harm our town centre but I fear it will."

The council expects the new charges will generate some £800,000 a year for the next five years - but this figure will be directly affected by footfall in the town.