Parking tariff rise for Hitchin, Letchworth and Royston car parks confirmed

St Mary's Square car park in Hitchin. Photo: Daniel Wilson

St Mary's Square car park in Hitchin. Photo: Daniel Wilson - Credit: Daniel Wilson

Parking tariffs at car parks in Hitchin, Letchworth and Royston will rise by 3.2 per cent, it was confirmed yesterday.

Royston Town Hall car park. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Royston Town Hall car park. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

North Herts District Council’s cabinet has decided to bring the tariffs in line with the council’s inflation policy, with the changes coming in as soon as possible during the new financial year.

The price bands in the short-stay car parks in Hitchin and Royston will be increased to manage demand between the locations – and in Hitchin, a new ‘cheaper after three’ offer will enable visitors to get three hours of parking for the price of one after 3pm.

In Royston, parking will remain free after 3pm, subsidised by the Royston First BID and area committee, as well as county councillors.

Ian Fullstone, the district council’s head of planning and building control, said: “The council is under considerable financial pressure to balance its books and we felt that the time was now right to introduce increased charges to some of our tariffs to bring fees into line with inflation.

“We are proud of the vibrant towns in the district and want to continue to encourage a steady turnover of people to come into the area to support local businesses and keep the economy buoyant throughout the day.”

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins told this paper that although ‘nobody ever likes price increases’, he was pleased with the strategy change.

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins.

Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins. - Credit: Archant

Most Read

He said: “This is just the first paper coming through. I hope that eventually the strategy review will be much more wide-ranging about things like parking for people working in the town.

“I’m really pleased that they took on board what we pointed out about the tariffs being the same all the time – why should a Wednesday afternoon be the same as a busy Saturday? You need to be doing something to encourage people to come into the town at times that are not so busy.

“I think it’s a very positive move that they’re trying to support that town economy at off-peak times. I’m also very pleased that there’s nothing there about encroaching on free parking on Sundays and evenings. I’d be against that for a multitude of reasons.”

There will be no increase in charges for resident, visitor or business permits or visitor tickets for resident permit zones for 2017/18 – but season ticket prices will go up by 3.2 per cent at the district council’s long-stay car parks in Hitchin, Letchworth and Royston.

Royston town manager Geraint Burnell said: “As town manager, I recognise and support the logic that has been applied to promote a one-to-three-hour turnover of spaces in the most central car parks, making it easier for shoppers or customers to find short-term parking.

“Speaking for Royston First, we would also advocate the continuation of the free-after-3 initiative that we fund together with the district council’s Royston area committee.

“I recognise that employees and business managers and owners also need to be considered – but I think everyone would agree that the priority should be to ‘put customers first’.”