Report commissioned into car park usage
A report investigating the steep decline in the number of motorists using the district’s car parks is to be brought before a meeting of the council’s scrutiny panel.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrat group on the district council last month revealed that 102,361 fewer tickets were purchased in the 10-month period since the Tory-led council increased fees.
The matter was brought up at the council’s scrutiny panel meeting last month but it was felt the issue was of such importance that a full report is now being drafted for full discussion.
Cllr Phil Knowles, leader of the Lib Dem group on the council, said the issue “hit a nerve” when it was brought up at the meeting and he added: “There is clearly lots of concern over this issue and it was eventually decided it needed to be brought back to scrutiny for a full report.”
This is likely to be ready for debate in June.
The Lib Dems are linking the lower numbers to the increased charges and there have been calls to make the charges cheaper.
The figures obtained were for the period April 1, 2011, through to December 31, 2011, compared with the same period for 2012. The increased charges were introducedin April 2012.
Lutterworth witnessed a reduced flow onto the car parks of more than 6,000 vehicles – 39,078 tickets in 2011 against 32,988 in the same period for 2012, but Harborough saw the more drastic decline.
A total of 845,440 tickets were bought in the 10 months of 2011 compared with 749,169 for the comparable 10 months in 2012. Added together, it is 102,361 fewer cars coming onto the car parks.
Council leader Michael Rook has rejected calls to reduce fees and blamed the downturn on roadworks and the general economic woes.
Last month he said: “Nationally, there has been a fall in car park usage due to the economic downturn and a rise in petrol costs but despite this, business remains vibrant locally, shown by the small amount of vacant shops compared to other areas.
“Car parking charges in the district remain low compared to other areas.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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