A consultation on charging shoppers more to park in Northampton town centre has been extended by three weeks to make sure people who were on holiday can have their say.
The Northamptonshire County Council proposals aim to "better manage the high demand for parking spaces in the most popular town centre parking locations" and "encourage the use of parking bays which are currently underused" by increasing parking costs by 80p.
READ MORE: 'Parking hike will be the last straw': Business owners criticise plans for new Northampton on-street parking charges
But businesses and councillors have widely criticised that further parking charge increases are going to be another nail in Northampton’s coffin.
The Chronicle & Echo has launched a campaign to make the county council think again and are inviting readers to have their say on the consultation plans by emailing the newspaper editor email@example.com.
The proposal is to introduce a higher rate tariff for parking at the busiest and most popular locations, while allowing motorists to park for longer in underutilised bays.
If it is given the green light pay and display bays in Abington Street, George Row, Mercers Row and St Giles’ Street will see an 80p rise from £1.20 per hour to £2.
On-street parking charges were rolled out in Northampton in July 2001 with an 80p fee per hour. In 2008 costs went up to £1 an hour before shoppers had to pay £1.20 per hour in 2018.
Of the total amount of pay and display bays in Northampton town centre, the council says 94 spaces out of 378 (25 per cent) are being proposed with a higher rate charge. All other pay and display bays would see no change.
The county council is also proposing that the duration that visitors can park increases from two hours to four hours in 79 out of the 378 pay and display bays (21 per cent).
The consultation started on Thursday, August 15 and was due to finish on Thursday, September 5.
However – following feedback during the consultation process – it has become evident that more time was needed to cater for people who may have been on summer holidays during the engagement process.
The consultation comes at a time when cameras between April and June 2019 recorded footfall had fallen in Northampton by 729,449 in comparison with 2018 figures.
READ MORE: Fears Rushden Lakes is drawing visitors away from Northampton after quarterly footfall drops by 700k
Councillor Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for highways and place said: “It’s really important that the consultation is as thorough as possible to make sure we gather as much information as we can so that an informed decision can be made.
“We’ve received lots of feedback so far but obviously many people may have been on holiday at the end of August so it’s only right we extend the consultation period.”
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH WITH NORTHAMPTONSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL :
Should you wish to comment on the proposals through the formal process you must put your views in writing no later than the 5th September 2019 to the address below quoting reference PKG/P1803:
Parking & Traffic Orders, Northamptonshire Highways, Highways Depot, Old Harborough Road, Brixworth, NN6 9BX
Or have your say online here.