Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Commuter group slams proposed South Bucks parking increases
A COMMUTER group has accused councils of trying to "strangle" town centres after a series of potential parking charge increases were announced across South Bucks.
South Bucks District councillors have discussed an extra 10p per transaction from April 2014, with the current rate for short to medium length stays already above the region’s average.
There will be further misery for season ticket holders with their passes also likely to rise, though the exact increase has not yet been agreed.
But Christmas shoppers can look forward to a reprieve after a proposal to offer free parking on one or two Saturdays in December, a move which will cost the council £3000 per day.
Marylebone Travellers Association, which represents commuters and visitors using the Chiltern Railways line through South Bucks, is critical of the price rises which affects many of its members.
Nick Leake, MTS secretary, said: "It seems to me there needs to be more creative thinking around parking and parking charges.
"They have become another means of taxation without adequate consideration of the services required. Recently we have had the government announce a desire to introduce flexible season tickets for commuters.
"In Chesham there is an experiment with charging shoppers by the minute for parking. We need some of this sort of thinking locally.
"In the meantime we are all trapped by the inertia of the elected officials perpetually increasing prices to a captive market as they slowly strangle our town centres of local businesses."
The council defended its proposals, saying increases in charges in recent years have concentrated on short term rates, and that there has been no rise in over four years.
A spokesman said: "Each September we carry out our annual review of car park charges. There has not been a general increase in charges since 2009, and most of our season ticket rates have not changed since 2006.
"Having considered a number of issues, including the general rate of inflation over that period, it has been decided to consult upon modest increases."
In April this year, SBDC also introduced discounted permits for residents outside of peak hours and the introduction of a four hour charge in Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross to help part time workers.
Despite the measures, SBDC’s car parks are still more expensive than the region’s average for short to medium length stays.
A one hour stay averages £1.01, with the average across the region, including Wycombe and the Chilterns costing 73p.
And the £80 full penalty charge for exceeding time limits is double the regional average.
The council’s suggested price rise comes after a steady decline in the number of pay and display tickets sold over recent years.
After a high point in 2009/10 where SBDC achieved a surplus of nearly £50,000 in its parking budget, the last two years have seen a sharp decline, with a shortfall last year of £74,548.
SBDC operates ten pay and display car parks in Beaconsfield, Burnham, Gerrards Cross and Farnham Common, providing 789 spaces as well as a number of disabled bays.
If agreed, the price rises are set to come into effect in April 2014, with the season ticket rate increases due to be announced in the next month.
Comments are closed on this article.