Plans to reduce or freeze charges at Wyre Forest District Council owned car parks from April 2020 will be discussed next week.

The proposals are part of a complete revamp of the current complex charging system to be discussed at the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 5 December.

A final decision on proposals, which includes cheaper parking charges for regular users and an almost halving of season ticket prices, will be made by Cabinet on Tuesday 17 December.

Corporate Director: Economic Prosperity and Place Mike Parker said “The current schedule of charges is complex. These proposals aim to simplify the structure of charges and help local residents, visitors and businesses who pay to park in the council’s car parks by reducing or freezing charges.”

If approved the new charges, which would come into effect from Monday 6 April 2020, would see a 30% reduction in the cost of one hour’s parking on council car parks, down from £1.40 to £1. The charge for two hours would be frozen at £2 which represents a reduction in real terms. There would be a modest increase in the charge for 3 hours, from £2.80 to £3, however it will be cheaper to park all day at just £5 compared to the current £6.90.

The council’s range of season tickets would also be simplified with a 40% cut in the cost of a full season ticket down from £703 to £400, which for people parking every weekday works out at less than £2 a day. The special season ticket rate of £300 for the Bromsgrove Street car park would be initially unchanged and reviewed after 12 months. It is hoped these reductions will encourage more people to purchase a season ticket.

The proposals would see people consulted on a number of other significant changes including; stopping the limited first hour of free parking which is currently available only on certain car parks, extending the charging period through to 9pm and a seasonal increase on the three hour rate to £4 and the day rate to £6 from April to October for car parks in Stourport and Bewdley. As most local residents who pay to park are likely to do so for one or two hours, this change is expected to affect mainly visitors.

The council declared a climate emergency at its meeting in May 2019 and would encourage all car users to consider the importance of their journey and whether they can use other more sustainable forms of transport as an alternative to the car.

As well as simplifying charges the proposals would also ease the council’s financial position. With an estimated £2million funding gap, the council has to cover the cost of operating, maintaining and enforcing parking in car parks and related functions which cost more than the money received from car parking charges.

There will also be a proposal to retain the simpler charging structure for 2 years by freezing car parking charges for 2021-22.