Hitchin workers may get cheaper parking

Hitchin sorting office

Hitchin sorting office - Credit: Archant

TOWN centre workers forced to pay high parking costs to get to work may receive a lifeline, with discussions ongoing to introduce dedicated subsidised parking.

Hitchin car parking costs are the highest in the district, and it’s claimed many workers in the town are struggling to pay the rates.

But they could soon be paying less, if discussions to put temporary parking on the former sorting office materialise, and would potentially be able to leave the vehicles at the site at a much reduced rate.

There are plans to eventually develop the site, but it will be a while before works can start, if planning permission is given.

Town centre manager Keith Hoskins, who has spoken out in the past of how council parking costs are too high for workers in Hitchin, said: “We’ve been discussing the possibility of using the site for car parking for employees.

“We’re looking at ways of how to manage that at the moment.”

Mr Hoskins also said he hoped to re-introduce the “free after 3” parking scheme at some point, when it ceases to run in two weeks’ time.

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“We’ll get feedback and then bring it back, maybe later in the year,” he added.

“I’d like to do more car parks in the scheme, but of course, £10,000 (the amount it cost for the trial) is a big chunk of money to us.”

Nothing has been formally agreed with regard to the subsidised employee parking, but Whitebarn Developments – which owns the site – already has permission for a car park and car wash.

The Hitchin-based company is currently working on its plans for the site, which include shops, cafes, and a hotel, while buildings are being demolished.

Mark Shadbolt, from Whitebarn, said he hoped a planning application would be submitted in the summer.

“We want to crack on with this, that’s our key message,” he added.