The council has announced it will be introducing inflation busting rises to parking charges in Eastleigh of up to 20% from January 2012.
Street parking charges will go up from 50p for 30 minutes to 60p (20%) and the hourly charge goes up by 9% to £1.20 from £1.10 while car park charges for the first two hours are increasing by 9%.
While short term charges have been hit hard long term stay are more or less untouched although the £13 per day charge at the pay on foot swan centre car park is £5 more than the daily rate at Southampton or Winchester.
The council deny that increased car parking charges are casing a drop in visitor numbers causing hardship to traders.
In fact, they claim that despite two charge increases last year, usage figures climbed to give the council £2.5 million worth of revenue – although the council may have not fully taken into consideration the affect of new double yellow line on Sopwith Road and Chickenhall Lane plus the introduction of parking charges at Bishopstoke.
Residents will be relieved that parking permit fees will be frozen although the recently introduced first charge will mean that people with two cars moving into the area will be paying £90 a year to park outside their homes – more than residents in other local towns.
In November last year Councillor Louise Bloom, the Cabinet member for Environment earned the praise of Friends of the Earth activists when she told them that the council were using car parking charges to discourage car usage.
“I’m not going to apologise for parking charges , If you bring a car to Eastleigh then you have to pay to park”
She said at a meeting at the Masonic Hall.
Despite this policy Council members staff who brings their cars into Eastleigh do not have to pay to park in the the car park at the council offices.
In fact so many employees bring their cars into Eastleigh the council have to use Fleming Park car park as an overspill, thereby depriving sports centre users of spaces.
By coincidence Fleming park has the only free public parking in central Eastleigh.