Parking fee freeze helps buck UK trend

Fylde Council has frozen car parking charges since 2011. Below: Coun Karen Buckley.
Fylde Council has frozen car parking charges since 2011. Below: Coun Karen Buckley.

Fylde Council is bucking the trend toward higher parking charges, according to the borough’s finance chief.

Research by the RAC Foundation showed councils nationwide had upped their income from car park charges by eight per cent between 2013 and 2014 and had decreased car park improvements and maintenance by two per cent.

Coun Karen Buckley'Fylde Council

Coun Karen Buckley'Fylde Council

Fylde councillors, however, took a strategic decision to freeze car park charges back in 2011.

Coun Karen Buckley, Fylde Council cabinet member for Finance and Resources, said: “We made the decision to freeze charges to keep people doing their shopping locally and to keep the visitors coming.

“Without the freeze we would now be a far less attractive place for motorists and we are now seeing the benefits through increased use of our car-parks – too many other councils have forced their charges up as a tax on residents and visitors.

“We have also introduced new, shorter stays for people just nipping into town – and that has actually cut what many people pay. Christmas parking at weekends has now been free for a number of years. We also introduced the Residents’ Parking Scheme last year so that residents who sign up can park for less than visitors.”

In contrast with councils nationwide that have been reducing car park maintenance and improvements, Fylde Council says it has resurfaced four car parks in the last four years and has also replaced pay-machines to make them easier to use.