CHANGES to parking rates across Dorset will see winners and losers – according to the senior advisor leading the project.
Overall, many people, including visitors to the county, are likely to find themselves paying more – although a lean permit system may help some local people, as 70 existing permits are being removed to be replaced by of them.
Portfolio holder Cllr Ray Bryan said no date has yet been set for the changes and no firm decision has been made, although it is likely that the new rates will be introduced over the course of of the new year.
He said the council was determined to put in place the same rules across the county, removing the old pricing structures of the previous six councils.
“Currently, it varies enormously. It’s very confusing for residents and for visitors… in some places you can park for free all day, in others it costs £ 9, ”he said.
As the proposals stand now, some places will see larger increases than others: in Wimborne, residents are complaining that their current £ 80 per year pass will, for the most part, rise to £ 260 per year; while residents of Verwood will see a parking fee for the first time. Shaftesbury is unhappy to have been included in a higher tariff band than its neighbor Gillingham.
Several councilors have warned that if the fees are too high, people will try to park for free on side streets, which will increase congestion for residents.
But Cllr Bryan says if that happens, Dorset Council will react quickly and introduce parking restrictions to stop it.
He says another phase of the parking review will likely be finding spaces allocated for RVs and RVs where they can legally stay overnight and find more space for truck parking. He said the council may also seek suitable sites for multi-story parking and other ways to increase revenues from its parking lots. It will also be a question of beautifying certain car parks, in particular by adding lighting to those which are poorly lit.
Cllr Bryan says any additional income will be used to help the annual highway budget of £ 60million, of which only £ 3million comes from local council taxpayers.
He says a new ‘pop and shop’ permit, costing £ 78 for the year, will allow up to two hours a day in short-stay parking lots while a ‘live, work and play’ permit will allow limited access to short-term parking. and full access to long-term parking for £ 260 per year.
Tourist car parks will be charged the highest rate of £ 10 for ten hours in high season, maximum £ 6 in low season and will cover the Weymouth car parks closest to beaches, Corfe Castle, Lyme Regis, some Portland car parks , Lyme Régis and West Bay.
The lower level has low and high season rates and will be charged a maximum of £ 6 for 10 hours, £ 3.50 for four hours. These include Dorchester, Blandford, Bridport, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Wareham, Weymouth (off range) and Wimborne.
The lowest level, for Beaminster, Charmouth, Ferndown, Gillingham, Sturminster Newton, Verwood and West Bexington will also be seasonal, up to a maximum of £ 10 for Charmouth and West Bexington for ten hours, or £ 4 off season. The hourly rates for these car parks will be £ 1 for two hours in low season and £ 3 for two hours in high season.
A range of new charges are also offered for on-street parking, controlled by the council, to a maximum of £ 8 in some areas, £ 12 in others, with an additional £ 2 and £ 4 for overnight parking .