Big rises in car parking charges in Aylesbury come into effect today (Tuesday, September 1).
Charges at the popular Exchange Street car park have risen by up to 50%, while evening tariffs have also been scrapped, after a shake-up of fees was agreed by Aylesbury Vale District Council in February.
The changes mean a 30 minute stay at Exchange Street has risen from 50p to 80p. Up to an hour has increased from £1 to £1.50; three hours £2 to £2.50; four hours £3.50 to £4.
Charges for longer stays at Exchange Street have not changed and cinema users are still entitled to a refund from 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and anytime on Sunday.
At the Aqua Vale car park, a two-hour stay now costs £2 rather than £1, while four hours rises to £6 from £3 and 24 hours £10 from £6. However, people using Aqua Vale are entitled to a refund.
Hourly fees at other car parks have not changed, and nor has the cost of annual permits except for Walton Street.
However, the council has also put up Sunday and public holiday charges across all its car parks from £1 to £1.50. It has scrapped the £1 evening charge at all its Aylesbury car parks, meaning day rates apply up until 9pm, after which it is free until 8am the next day.
A last-ditch motion by Labour councillor Mark Bateman to stop the changes failed, with Conservative Judy Brandis claiming those against the charges were ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’.
The council says that the last time the car parks in Aylesbury had any significant increase was 2007.
Speaking in July, Councillor Angela Macpherson, cabinet member for leisure, communities and civic amenities, said: “We have worked extremely hard to produce a new price structure that balances a range of differing needs and supports the changing requirements of a growing town centre.
“Our decision to extend the daytime charges into the evening is intended to make the charging structure more straightforward for our customers.
“People parking before 6.30pm and staying into the evening have told us it’s confusing purchasing a ticket, as there are two different tariffs to work out. Free parking will still be available after 9pm.”
A council spokesman added: “Income from car parking charges contributes to a range of car parking activities, which include the administration of the service, off street enforcement as well as the routine repairs and maintenance of the car parks. It allows the council to invest in new technology, such as the Pay by Phone facility and hand held appliances for the enforcement officers, and also provides funds for more major items of repairs that are sometimes necessary as well as providing funds for future car parking provision.”