Parking charges are set to rise in Northampton amid fears the town centre is struggling to compete with out-of-town shopping centres - but you still have a chance to have your say through the Chronicle and Echo.
The changes coming into effect on April 15 will affect borough council surface and multi-storey car park tariffs.
Evening charges, for leaving a vehicle from 5pm to midnight, are to rise from £1 to £3 across all borough council-owned car parks.
At surface car parks such as Upper Mounts, the 60p for an hour tariff and £1.20 for two hours will be replaced with a new minimum charge of £2.
Anyone staying at surface car parks for between three and four hours will have to pay £4 – as opposed to £2.40 for three hours or £3.20 for four hours.
The two-hour free parking offer at Northampton’s multi-storeys – St John’s, Mayorhold and the Grosvenor Centre – will remain in place.
But last Friday opposition councillors felt the changes were being imposed without a proper public consultation and called on the Conservative-run council to delay the changes.
The borough council has now agreed to accept comments from the public via its communications channels.
So as a reader, what do you think?
Will the parking rises put you off coming into town? And what do you think about the £2 minimum charge introduced at surface car parks?
Although the official consultation is over the borough has said it will now accept additional comments via its communications channels.
If you want to have your say, get in touch with us via email on: email@example.com or by sending a message to our Facebook page www.facebook.com/northamptonchron.
All the comments we receive over this week we will send to the borough council so the public gets the public consultation it deserves.
On Monday, business owners expressed their fears at the soon-to-be-enforced hikes to parking charges during a Guildhall meeting.
The quickly arranged summit, hosted by the Business Improvement District (BID), saw shop, pub and cafe owners vocally request the council not to increase the amount people have to pay for short visits to the town centre.
Councillors and officers from the borough council were there to take questions. But a BID spokeswoman said there was an ‘overwhelming consensus’ from its members that increasing car parking charges would not make the town centre an attractive place to visit.
Speaking at the meeting the BID’s executive director, Rob Purdie, said: “We were told too late about this proposal and need to be involved at the early stages in these types of consultations.
“Raising car parking costs is a reason for people not to come into the town centre. The depth of feeling in this room demonstrates how deeply our BID businesses feel about this issue.”
The authority has allowed the BID to form a ‘small working group’ which can sit down with council officers in the next week to see if alternatives to the charge increases can be considered.