Council puts redrafted parking charge plan for Northampton out to consultation

Sundays could be free at Mayorhold under the new proposals.
Sundays could be free at Mayorhold under the new proposals.

Northampton Borough Council is set to consult over new parking proposals after a backlash over the original proposals.

Changes to parking charges were set to be introduced this week but following recent discussions with the Town Centre BID the authority has put forward a new scheme.

The revised parking proposals being consulted upon.

The revised parking proposals being consulted upon.

Comments were also received from members of the public – both directly and via the Chronicle & Echo.

As a result, a new proposal was devised - displayed on the image here.

The proposal retains the higher day-rate charge for drivers who wish to park all day within the inner ring road, to encourage them to keep those spaces clear for shoppers. Car parks outside the inner ring road, such as St Michaels, would be charged at the reduced day-rate of £6.

If charges were removed entirely, the council says it would have to find more than £3.38 million additional income (based on figures for 2017-18). This includes business rates, depreciation, maintenance and improvement and support costs.

Council Leader, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, said: “Some of those who contacted us wanted no changes to parking charges, or their removal.

“If we didn’t charge for parking, this would mean either a significant reduction in the services and support we provide, or a huge hike in council tax, neither of which are acceptable – or even possible – in our opinion.”

The council now wants to seek the views and thoughts of businesses, residents, community groups and others on the new scheme devised as a result of the feedback, discussions and commentary so far.

Councillor Tim Hadland, council cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “From our engagement to date it’s been clear that businesses and members of the public wanted us to explore alternative options.

“While increases are never ideal, we have to consider how the maintenance and improvement costs of more than £770,000 we have coming this year will be met.

“These new proposals are a significant shift away from what we had originally agreed and take into account the comments we have received.”

The consultation will run from today (Wednesday, April 17) until Friday, May 3 and responses can be provided through www.northampton.gov.uk/parkingconsultation2019

Estimates for the major works required on the town car parks for 2019/20 include:

£30,000 for replacement of old pay machines, ensuring card payments are possible across all the council’s car park, making the process quicker and easier.

£250,000 for major surface concrete repairs to Mayorhold multi-storey improving the experience for users.

£400k for replacement of 10 lifts within St Johns, St Michaels and Mayorhold multi-storeys, reducing incidences of breakdown and improving quality.

£90k for resurfacing works to the Grosvenor multi-storey exit ramp improving the experience of users.

Further improvement work is also planned at the Mayorhold car park, plus surface repairs to the Commercial Street and Horsemarket car parks, upgrade of car park management software, and improvements to contactless payments, all of which are being costed.