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Free Summers Road car parking set to end in Burnham

A stand-off between a district and parish council looks set to spell the end of free parking in Summers Road.

Introduced in October 2015, the free one-hour parking period was the idea of Burnham Parish Council.

It approached South Bucks District Council, which owns and runs the car park, and said it would absorb the cost of the free hour using a fund to help businesses in the High Street.

But the scheme now looks set to be terminated due to a disagreement between the councils over the formula used to calculate the parking charges and unpaid invoices.

A spokesman for the district council said: “South Bucks District Council has a signed agreement with Burnham Parish Council that they will reimburse the loss of income for the scheme.

“Unfortunately the parish council has refused to pay invoices for the scheme for the last two-and-a-half years.”

But according to parish council clerk Sheridan Jacklin-Edward the district council was ‘keen to keep it loose’ rather than set in writing an agreed formula to calculate the rates to be paid back.

The parish council estimated that it would cost about £4,000 a year to fund the scheme but from October 2015-16 the invoice it received was for £8,000.

Mr Jacklin-Edward said this was down to the district council using a formula based on increased ticket sales since the free scheme was introduced, which the parish council believes is unfair.

The district council maintains ‘it does not generate any surplus from the scheme’ and said: “With the parish council failing to reimburse costs the whole scheme has effectively been subsidised by other areas of the district, leaving the district council with no choice than to bring the scheme to an end and pursue more formal action to recover its costs.

Mr Jacklin-Edward said that the parish council is disappointed that a ‘compromise’ can’t be met but it does not want to ‘make a payment under protest’ as it cannot then contest the invoices and recoup the money to be put back into the fund for the benefit of the High Street.

From Thursday, October 4 the charge for parking for up to one hour will be £1. All other tariffs in the car park remain the same.

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