Basingstoke residents could be forced to fork out more for residential parking to plug £12,000 council shortfall (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Basingstoke residents could be forced to fork out more for residential parking to plug £12,000 council shortfall
TOWN centre residents could be forced to pay an extra 25 per cent for an annual parking permit.
A majority of councillors on the borough’s housing and environment committee, which advises the decision-making Cabinet, have said permit holders should plug the £12,000 shortfall in the cost of issuing parking permits.
It is believed that more than 2,000 permit holders could have to pay up to £6 extra a year, but pensioners could be issued with free residential parking permits.
Currently, only people over 75 are offered free permits.
The committee’s recommendations will go before Councillor Cathy Osselton, Cabinet member for partnerships, this month.
Speaking at the meeting, Labour group leader and committee member Cllr Laura James branded the recommendations as “criminal”.
She said. “We need to make sure there is an affordable aspect to living in the town centre. The assumption here is we are going to give a reduced amount to a pensioner, but if you are a family, a working family and struggling, you are going to have to pay more.
“We are penalising people for living in the town centre.”
There are 14 areas of the borough covered by a parking permit scheme. The majority are in Basingstoke town centre, and one is in Whitchurch.
Last year, the council spent £31,335 issuing 1,010 residents’ permits which cost £24, and 1,242 visitors’ permits which cost £5.
Home owners in parking permit areas are able to apply for a residential and visitor permit. The council made back £19,008 from the cost of permits, resulting in a £12,327 shortfall.
By a majority, the committee said the borough council should increase permit prices to cover 100 per cent of its administration costs.
The proposed cost of the new permits will be revealed in November, but will need to be approved by a majority of the 60-strong full council in February 2014.
Malcolm Macinnes lives in Flaxfield Road, Basingstoke – an area covered by the permit scheme but where residents cannot apply for visitor permits, as there are not enough parking spaces.
He said: “The increases might not seem to be a lot of money, but people will still want to know why it has to be above the rate of inflation.”
He suggested the borough council brings in more money by fining people committing littering and other minor offences.
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