'Victory' as Northampton parking charge hikes are put on hold following public backlash

Evening charges at Mayorhold were set to rise from 1 to 3, but the council has agreed to rethink the proposals.
Evening charges at Mayorhold were set to rise from 1 to 3, but the council has agreed to rethink the proposals.

A plan to put parking prices up in Northampton has been kicked into the long grass after Chronicle and Echo readers sent in more than 100 comments of disapproval.

Northampton Borough Council did want to raise the tariffs to park in surface car parks and multi-storeys from April 15, yesterday.

The evening rate to park in places such as St John's and Mayorhold would have gone up by 300 per cent.

But a fortnight ago questions were raised over the manner in which the decision to increase revenue from the charges was taken.

Councillors and businesses felt the borough council had paid lip service to the notion of public consultation - leaving many feeling they had not had the chance to fully have their say.

The Chron set about rectifying that - asking you to send in your thoughts about proposals. Last week we sent more than 100 of your comments on to the council.

Shopkeepers, publicans and cafe owners also held crunch meetings with the council asking for a rethink of the plans.

Today, following the backlash, sources say the council has now agreed to put the parking increases on hold while it considers the responses it has had.

Councillor Gareth Eales (Lab, Spencer) was among the first to call for a fresh consultation over the tariffs.

“This feels like a small victory and I’m pleased to have played my part in exposing what was an undemocratic approach," he said.

"I still feel any increases in parking charges would be immensely damaging to the town centre and our small businesses. The truth is the funding gap the Conservative council is trying to plug is to pay for the local government restructure, which nobody supports or wants."

The borough council, which had budgeted for an extra £625,000 to from the parking increases, is expected to make an announcement on the charges tomorrow.