More than 1000 sign Hitchin parking charges petition

Christchurch car park in Hitchin.

Christchurch car park in Hitchin. - Credit: Daniel Wilson

A petition calling on a council to withdraw its proposal to introduce evening and weekend parking charges has amassed more than 1,000 signatures.

Last week the Comet reported that North Herts District Council plan to introduce a new evening and overnight charge from 6pm-8am, as well as a Sunday charge, from November.

Daytime charges will also increase depending on length of stay and location, but the charge of £1 for one hour of parking will remain in place at all car parks.

The proposed changes, which exclude bank holidays are set to be trialled until April 2015 at all short-stay car parks in Hitchin.

An online petition against the charges was launched on Friday by an anonymous car park user and has so far attracted more than 1,150 signatures.

Rachel Burgin, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hitchin, said party members are outraged at the Conservative-led council’s proposals to introduce the charges in the town with no real consultation.

Ms Burgin is calling on MP Peter Lilley to join with her in putting pressure on NHDC to withdraw its proposals and allow for a period of genuine consultation and discussion of alternatives.

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She said: “Over the course of the last few days, more than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on NHDC to undertake a proper consultation before introducing these charges. That is an incredibly powerful illustration of how angry local people are about this issue. Charges will affect trade in local businesses and restaurants but also churchgoers attending Sunday services and people visiting relatives in town. Local residents are particularly angry that these charges are being introduced in Hitchin but not in other local towns. I call on Peter Lilley MP to stand up for the interests of his Hitchin constituents.”

North Herts Labour Group leader Judi Billing said: “We are being inundated with complaints about these punishing proposals from local businesses, town centre organisations and hard working local families who simply cannot believe that Hitchin is being targeted like this. The town and its people have worked so hard to survive the longest ever recession which has brought real poverty to local people and impossible conditions for local businesses. Many feel that this is the last straw in their dealings with the council and want time to discuss it fully and properly over a sensible period of time.”

A council consultation with Hitchin town centre management and Hitchin councillors will draw to a close on Friday.

To sign the petition visit