Increasing car parking prices in York is set to save the council more than £2m.
City of York Council has proposed a series of cuts and price hikes in its budget set to be approved by its executive tomorrow (Thursday).
Hourly daytime charges will increase by 30p and day charges will now cost £20 – up from £18 – if the proposals are voted by the majority of the councillors on 22 February.
However, the Liberal Democrat opposition group leader Cllr Nigel Ayre has said this doesn’t take into account plans for alternative use of the Castle car park.
“We are calling on the Labour council to explain exactly how car park income will increase,” he said.
“The administration is increasing car parking charges whilst shutting down Castle car park.”
But Labour’s position is that this budget is for 2024/25 and further budgets will take decisions like this into account.
Cllr Pete Kilbane, executive member for transport, said: “Increasing parking charges isn’t an easy decision but it’s necessary to stave off making bigger cuts elsewhere in the budget beyond those we’re already being forced to make.
“So far increasing these charges in past years hasn’t deterred people from parking but we will continue to monitor the impact prices have on demand.
“Disabled Blue Badge holders will still park for free, and the ongoing stabilisation of the bus network means there’s a reliable alternative for those who don’t want to drive into the city centre.”
The £2m saved by the council is made up of increases already implemented, the proposed new changes and an inflationary increase to resident parking rates.
The council’s overall savings from the proposed budget is £14.3m, almost £3m more than its forecasted overspend.
Council tax is set to rise by 4.99 per cent before parish, police and fire authority precepts are taken into account.
Meanwhile, the administration is proposing to begin charging £46.50 to collect garden waste.
Cllr Claire Douglas, the City of York Council leader, said: “We’ve been clear from day one that the budget we inherited after 13 years of central government cuts meant making very hard decisions.
“We said already there would have to be cuts, a root and branch challenge to all council expenditure and a hard look at levels of capital investment.
“As the full scale of the challenge has become clear, so too has the need to make what we know will be some very unpopular decisions.
“It is heartbreaking that council budgets across the UK have been brought to this, and we are deeply troubled by what these changes might mean here in York.
“We remain committed to delivering our Council Plan, but because we cannot do that alone, or with the financial resources we have now, we need the support of partners and residents to achieve the significant ambitions it contains, including support for people hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis.”