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20th Feb, 2020

Warwickshire parking permit price hike scaled back after public outcry

Andy Morris 8th Jan, 2020

AN UNPOPULAR plan to more than treble the amount people have to pay to park outside their homes in Warwickshire has been scaled back.

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) officers have recommended the council abandons its plan to raise annual residential permit charges from £25 to a flat rate of £80.

And the council’s alternative tiered pricing model – the ‘least unwelcome’ option, according to a public consultation – has been toned down, meaning households will be charged £30 for a first permit and £50 for a second and third permit.

The council amended the tiered system – which initially proposed £35 for the first permit, £55 for a second and £80 for a third – because “family finances are under pressure and there are areas of Warwickshire suffering from deprivation which would be most affected by the proposals”.

A report due to be presented to WCC’s Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee today (Thursday January 9) cites “broad opposition to raise permit prices at all, with both pricing options seen as too high and questions over the lack of parking spaces, poor enforcement and value for money.”

Residents responding to the consultation said the current system was not value for money since ‘civil enforcement officers (CEOs) were never seen’ and ‘there was never anywhere to park despite having a permit’.

The report states: “Our CEOs carry out regular patrols of resident parking zones and issue penalty charge notices where necessary. Overall on-street parking compliance within the Civil Parking Enforcement areas of Warwickshire is at approximately 90 per cent. This figure indicates the success of the current enforcement strategy.”

A plan to limit visitor parking to a maximum of 1,200 hours per year has also been abandoned due to ‘concerns about fairness and the impact on the elderly and vulnerable’.

But the council still wants to make residents log visitors’ car registration numbers online, so CEOs can see which cars are parked legitimately.

The chair of campaign group Concerned Rugbeians Against Parking Proposals (CRAPP) slammed the proposal.

Ellen Boylin said: “We still feel this is a total invasion of our privacy and also that of our visitors.

“They say they have absolutely no interest in how many visitors we have and it is purely so that the traffic wardens can check each car via their handheld devices. We are not convinced.”

The WCC report said: “At no point will the visitor’s car registration details be used for any purpose other than allowing CEOs to check that the visitor’s vehicle is parked legitimately.

“The information will be held securely on our service provider’s servers in much the same way that existing data for residents’ permits is managed.”

WCC’s Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee will discuss the proposals before presenting a report to the council’s cabinet in March.

If approved, the changes are due to be implemented on or after April 6.

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