Cost of parking permits set to rise

DRIVERS in Havering are set to face a sting in their purse when permits for parking increase next month.

The hiked up prices - more than double in some cases - will affect residents, visitors, businesses and carers wanting to park in controlled parking zones where permit parking applies.

From February it will cost drivers more to park outside their own home each year - 52per-cent more for their first car and 45per-cent more for their second car. Only those with a third car, the hardest hit in last year’s changes to permit prices, will see a reduction in their fee - of around 21per-cent.

The new charges set out by Havering mean a parking permit for a resident’s first car is jumping up by �6.80 from �13.20 to �20. For a second car there will be an increase of �7.75 taking this permit from �17.25 to �25. A third car will cost a reduced �60 - previously �76.15.

On top of that residents will be forced to pay double the existing charge for a book of 10 visitor scratchcard permits - �10 up from �5.10.

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Carer permits for healthcare professionals and residents and disc parking are all being harmonised at the same rate of �36 a year. For resident carers this means a mere 45p increase but for professionals it will cost almost three times the �13.60 fee they already pay to park in the borough to carry out their job.

This is similar to the increase for annual disc parking permits which were previously �13.20.

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A concerned resident of Clydesdale Road, Romford, said: “This is disgusting. Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for communities and local government) said councils must not increase parking fees excessively to make up the shortfall from Government - well this increase is excessive. They should give residents a referendum to say if they want to stay in the scheme or not.”

But Havering Council said the changes are in line with neighbouring boroughs and are being brought in to “ensure consistency and fairness for all”.

Councillor Barry Tebbutt, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We need to take tough decisions and we are going to be up front about that.”

He said the borough had lost between �150,000 and �200,000 in parking revenue in the last year because it hadn’t been charging what it cost to provide the service.

“What we’re trying to do is get to a point where parking is cost neutral. We always went below what it should have been. There was so much to change it wasn’t fair to do it all in one go.

“All revenue made from these changes will be ploughed back into our services during these difficult times.”

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