Royal Borough car parking charges to rise with inflation, meeting hears

WINDSOR 130832-6

The Royal Borough is estimating to bring in nearly £10million worth of income from parking charges in next year’s budget, a council meeting heard this week.

Drivers are being braced for a 4.8 per cent average increase in fees for car parking in the borough next year, with finance chiefs putting this rise down to inflation.

A corporate overview and scrutiny panel discussed the upcoming fees and charges for 2022/23 on Wednesday this week, which also predicts the council will bring in more than £1million from the planning and development sector.

Elsewhere, marriage and civil partnership ceremonies are hoped to generate £435,000, while temporary traffic regulation orders should bank £235,000, according to the local authority’s projections.

With regards to parking, council officers stated that there are ‘a number of considerations that come into play’ when it comes to setting increases in charges, such as the car park’s usage and the effects of previous increases.

Alysse Strachan, head of neighbourhood services, said that the implications of existing resident discount parking schemes (RDPS) were also taken into account.

She added that the 4.8 per cent increase represented the council’s ‘overall budget position’, rather than ‘individual tariffs’.

The Royal Borough’s cabinet agreed to roll out a new RDPS as part of its upcoming budget, covering Alma Road and Alexandra Gardens car parks in Windsor, Horton Road in Datchet and Meadow Lane in Eton.

At the meeting, Cllr Lynne Jones (OWRA, Old Windsor) claimed that Windsor is ‘far higher than most’ in terms of car parking charges, and wanted Victoria Street car park to be included in the resident discount offer.

“The scheme does not really apply to any shopping car parks within Windsor,” she said.

“Victoria Street is high in cost and the scheme does not cover it, so residents do have to walk quite a way to get to the high street from any discount car park.”

Cllr Jones added that she ‘understands’ Windsor’s appeal as a tourist location, but claimed that the current offer would ‘disenfranchise residents from shopping within the high street’.

In response, Ms Strachan and director of executive resources Adele Taylor confirmed that it would cost the council an additional £100,000 to include Victoria Street as part of the RDPS.

But they did say that it would be considered in a further review which is set to be carried out on the progress of the resident discount scheme.

Ms Taylor added: “The decision has been taken and the call-in period has passed, but it is helpful to have this for future discussion and review.”

Later in the meeting, Pinkneys Green councillor Simon Werner (Lib Dem) raised similar concerns to Cllr Jones, but instead focused on the Nicholsons car park in Maidenhead.

This car park is also not included in the RDPS, although nearby West Street will be eligible for the offer.

Cllr Werner told the meeting that the Nicholsons is the 'shoppers car park in Maidenhead' and that the council should be 'encouraging shoppers' to visit the town.

"The charges since the Advantage Card was got rid of [have] massively increased," he said.

Cllr Werner also asked what the rationale was behind not including the Nicholsons car park within the RDPS, with Ms Strachan repeating that there is 'lots of data and feeding into models' involved in making those decisions.

She said: "It is the most used by shoppers but it is the balance of use and incorporating all those different elements into it."

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Jones said that she was pleased to see that resident parking permits had not increased in next year’s budget.

“I am pleased that we are not seeing those go up,” she said. “I’m sure they [residents] will be very happy about that.”

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