Cuts to parking charges aim to boost city economy

By Tim Clarke Tuesday 06 November 2012 Updated: 08/11 14:11

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Buy photos » All-day parking prices are set to be slashed at St Martin's Gate multi-storey. 4708010NHW

EVENING parking charges in Worcester are set to be slashed to just £1 as part of a raft of price cuts aimed at boosting the city centre economy.

New 30 minute daytime charges as low as 40p will also be introduced from February if the package of proposals is given the green light by city councillors later this month.

Among the other planned changes is a major reduction in the cost of all-day parking at the council's biggest car park - St Martin's Gate - which would be cut from £6 to £3.60 in an effort to attract more commuters.

All other parking charges in the city will also be frozen for a fourth successive year.

The proposals have been tabled after a major review of the council's car parks whose revenue is coming under increasing pressure from competitors such as Asda and CrownGate Shopping Centre.

According to a report set to go before cabinet next Tuesday (November 13), the changes could generate up to an extra £1million per year in revenue but the council stands to lose as much as £120,000 if they fail to draw in more motorists.

Coun Marc Bayliss, cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: "We think this is a winner for the motorist and it's a winner for retailers and people running businesses in the city as well as workers.

"By cutting fees we hope we can stimulate more demand. Worcester has a bit of an unfair reputation for high car parking fees despite the fact we haven't increased charges for three years."

"But we believe this will encourage more people to come to the city especially when word gets out they can come and park in Worcester for £3.60 a day."

The reduced evening tariff would mean motorists could park in the city's red and amber zone car parks after 7pm for just £1 rather than the existing charges of £2.40 and £1.80.

The new 30 minute option would see drivers charged 60p to park in the red zone - which includes Copenhagen Street, the Cornmarket and Providence Street - and 40p in the amber zone car parks, which includes St Martin's Gate, the Cattle Market, King Street, Newport Street, Clare Street, Commandery Road and Orchard House.

Coun Bayliss said he hoped the proposals would also help alleviate congestion in the city by offering more affordable short and long stay options for motorists.

Adrian Field, manager of the Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), said: "It is reassuring to see the council are looking to respond to supply and demand and reduce prices and follow similar moves by the Cathedral Plaza NCP and CrownGate car parks."

"Businesses in Worcester continually state that car parking charges are a major factor in determining their customers' shopping or leisure habits and so a price reduction along with the BID's continued funding of the RingGo pay for parking by phone system really will make it easier for businesses and customers alike."

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