New car parking charges come into effect today, Monday July 1, across Northampton Borough Council car parks.
The new charges came after an angry reaction to original proposals by the council which were widely criticised by traders and shoppers.
Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District, which represents traders in the town centre, was also critical that they had not been properly consulted before the first changes were announced.
Following a much longer consultation period, the borough council drew up new plans which were passed through earlier this year.
The revised charges mean there will still be free parking in multi-storeys for two hours on Saturdays. However, motorists will have to pay £1 per hour on weekdays (for the first five hours).
The Conservative administration introduced free parking across all its car parks more than five years ago including the all-day free Saturdays and two hours free on weekends at its multi-storey car parks.
But the free parking offer reduced the council's parking income by more than £1.5 million per year, and reduced the level of investment across the car parks.
Speaking earlier this year, cabinet member for planning Councillor James Hill, says: "There was acceptance of a number of the proposals, although, as is to be expected, there was less support for some others.
"After considering them, we have decided that the only way to meet the financial target required to carry out the repairs and improvements to our car parks that are required will be to implement the changes as proposed."
The borough council says the increased charges will help pay for:
- replacement of old pay machines (£30,000)
- concrete repairs to Mayorhold multi-storey (£250,000)
- replacement of lifts in St John's, St Michael's and Mayorhold multi-storeys (£400,000)