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Free parking for 30 minutes proposed for town centre car parks from next April
SHOPPERS in Basingstoke could park for free from next April, under proposals for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s budget.
The plan being proposed by the borough council’s cabinet member for partnerships, Councillor Cathy Osselton, is that the first 30 minutes parking would be free in all the council-owned short stay car parks in the town.
The move is aimed at giving a boost to high street shops and traders by attracting more people to the area, particularly Top of The Town.
It is also one of the ways the council is working to keep charges fair when people are already struggling with the rising costs of living.
The proposal is that the current 50p charge for 30 minutes would be scrapped in Central Car Park, Caston’s Yard, Albert Yard, Jacob’s Yard, Joices Yard and Feathers Yard car parks.
And the charge for one hour parking in council-owned Basingstoke town centre car parks is also set to be frozen at £1.
Council-owned car parks in Overton, Kingsclere, Bramley and Whitchurch already offer free parking.
Parking charges for next year are set to be discussed by the council’s economic prosperity and performance overview and scrutiny committee next Tuesday, November 12, before the final budget for 2014/15 is set in February.
Cllr Osselton, who is responsible for parking, said: “I’m keen to introduce free short-term parking to encourage people to pop into Basingstoke town centre to do a quick shop, grab a cup of coffee or even visit an exhibition at the Willis Museum, all without having the hassle of finding change or paying by phone.
“This is just one of the ways that we are proposing to support our small shops and businesses as they struggle with competition from the internet and people spending less as they tighten their belts. I want to take this even further to look into whether we could support traders with other incentive schemes including parking refunds.
“The council’s parking charges are not used as a way of bringing in extra cash but set at rates that are fair to the motorist and council tax payers.”
Under the proposed charges, the council’s car parking income overall would go up by less than inflation from April 2014.
Proposed charges in Basingstoke’s council-run car parks would stay lower than neighbouring towns and other parking providers in a bid to be fair to motorists and support town centre traders
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