Petition against South Kesteven District Council’s plans to introduce Sunday and evening charges in Stamford short stay car parks
A petition opposing a council’s plans to introduce overnight and evening parking charges has reached more than 1,000 signatures in just a few days.
South Kesteven District Council gave the green light to putting up prices for its pay-and-display car parks in Stamford and Grantham at a meeting in January.
Currently drivers can park for free on Sundays and bank holidays but under the new plans it could cost up to £3 in some Stamford car parks.
For long-stay car parks a £3 charge for overnight parking has been suggested.
After hearing from concerned residents, Stamford town councillor Amanda Wheeler set up a petition opposing the plans, which has reached more than 1,000 signatures since Thursday (February 1).
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“One of my motivations for being on Stamford Town Council is to stand up for Stamford when I see it being unfairly treated.
“It is my duty,” she said.
In the last financial year car park charges brought in £1.161m for the district council, 72 per cent of this was from Stamford with the remainder coming from Grantham, Bourne and Market Deeping do not currently have paid-for parking.
“Stamford is basically propping up the income for the rest of the district,” said Coun Wheeler, adding that it is an ill thought out money making exercise.
She believes introducing evening and Sunday charges will negatively affect many community groups and clubs as well as those who go to church and businesses, such as restaurants, which rely on evening trade.
People with mobility issues or who are on a low income are also a concern.
Coun Wheeler said: “People who have lived in Stamford a long time feel they are getting pushed out and priced out.”
She added: “I think we should encourage people to use other modes of transport but we shouldn’t be penalising people using cars.”
The evening charges will only apply in the town’s long-stay car parks, Wharf Road and Cattle Market, with Wharf Road also exempt from Sunday charges.
“Drivers are going to be confused and park in the wrong one and get fined,” she said.
The petition calls on South Kesteven District Council “to cancel their plan to introduce these additional charges in Stamford and offer a fairer charging scheme across the whole district”.
South Kesteven District Council’s deputy leader Richard Cleaver (Ind) expressed his disappointment at the petition.
He claims it ‘fails to give all the facts’ which means it could be ignored as a contribution to the council’s public consultation, an exercise it is legally required to do ahead of changes being made.
Under the new plans the cost of parking during the day will also increase, although this is not what the petition is opposing.
“It is the first increase in over two years and is in line with inflation,” said Coun Cleaver, adding that it is still cheaper than other nearby towns and cities.
Additional funds from the increased parking charges could help offset the cost of adding more than 80 new spaces to Cattle Market car park, said Coun Cleaver.
Funding of about £500,000 for this is expected to be on the agenda for a decision at the budget setting meeting of the full council this month.
The district council has commissioned an independent car parking capacity study, to determine whether the expansion is needed.
Free parking at 110 spaces in Bourne and 25 in the Deepings is also being reviewed.
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