Motorists have their say on increases in Northampton car park charges

The Upper Mounts car park could have its 60p charge scrapped
The Upper Mounts car park could have its 60p charge scrapped

Drivers have made up for missing out on the car park charges consultation by making their views plain online.

The Chron reported yesterday how evening charges at all Northampton Borough Council car parks were to increase from £1 to £3.

The 60p one-hour charge for surface car parks is also set to be scrapped and replaced with a £2 charge for two hours.

A lack of detail in the council's December 2018 budget - it merely suggested generating extra income of £625,000 - meant only 21 people took part in the formal consultation.

But many have been keen to have their say on the Chron's Facebook page.

Sarah Hopper gave the potential customer's point of view. She said: "Me and a friend go to town once a week to catch up over coffee, have a look around the shops and get my weekly fruit and veg from the market, parking in the grosvenor car park and usually manage to get the 2 hours free.

"Sometimes we have to pay the £2.40 if we go over however if this is going to increase by the amount stated then we will probably go elsewhere."

And Joanne Mackey spoke for many parents who have young children to entertain. She said: "The increase in evening parking costs will therefore now add another £10 a month to the cost of taking my children to their swimming lesson at the Mounts Baths (I can rarely get in their own tiny car park!)."

And if Bob Antell's view is anything to go by, those who work for free will not be in favour. He said: "As a Derngate volunteer I will be expected to pay £3 to work in the evening."

Other readers pointed out that the theory of low charges attracting more shoppers seems to have been perfectly demonstrated recently.

Maria Page said: "For six weeks Market Street car park off Wellingborough Road has been free and it’s been full. Today, charges are back in place and it’s empty. That speaks for itself."

Sue Lindley theorised that the borough council had got it's economic theories wrong. She believes demand for parking is 'elastic' when prices rises affect the take-up.

She said: "Could the Councillors be given basic economics lessons on elasticity of demand before finalising this bizarre plan?

"It assumes inelastic demand (which it most probably isn't because of good alternatives nearby to choose from like Rushden Lakes and MK), so the total overall parking revenue could well reduce, not increase."

Away from Facebook, Rob Purdey of Northampton town centre BID said he agreed with the aims of the changes, which were to simplify parking charges and increase dwell time. But he was not completely convinced the proposals achieved it.

He said: "Car parking is integral to our town centre. It's one of the key barriers or attractions visiting the town

"We understand the council has to raise revenue and its a complex area, but it is disappointing.

"Generally, the easier it is to get parking, the better it is for our businesses.

"People are looking to get good value."

A decision whether to implement the changes will be taken on February 20.