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Cambridge on-street parking prices are set to rise but brakes are slammed on visitor permits hike

By Ben Comber

Parking problems on Marshall Road in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Parking problems on Marshall Road in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Several changes to parking prices are expected to take effect in April next year.

A halt was called this week to plans to increase the cost of Cambridge visitor parking permits, which were set to jump from £8 to £15, but measures to increase on-street parking fees will go forward.

Revised on-street parking fees vary across 18 tariffs, ranging from an increase in 10p per 10 minutes to 10p per hour, with a cut in cost for parking at Shire Hall on Sundays.

The proposed 88 per cent rise for visitor permits, part of the resident parking charges changes, was agreed by councillors to be too sharp an increase. Council officials said that parking schemes in Cambridge have been losing money for the council for years and the proposed cost increases are part of efforts to balance the cost of the schemes.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Nichola Harrison presented feedback from constituents, saying many people had contacted her regarding the difficulties the proposals would cause them.

She said: “I believe that this extraordinary increase is unfair and it is unecessary and it will hit the weak and vulnerable the hardest.

“Journeys (made by people using visitor passes) are generally made outside peak hours precisely because people want to avoid traffic. And they make up a simply tiny fraction of road journeys. On average 500 visitor permits are used each day in the city, and the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s traffic survey this year counted 113,000 individual cars on the road in one day.”

She highlighted that the price increases would mean a forecasted £111,000 surplus would be generated from visitor permits.

“Targeting a section of city residents to subsidise the council’s budget cannot be right,” she said.

Conservative Cllr Mathew Shuter, the highways committee chairman, said: “There should be some scope to look after the old and vulnerable. I do see that 88 per cent is a huge increase to some people, but to some people it’s very little. It’s very difficult to get this balance right.”

The committee agreed that while the cost of visitor permits needs to rise to cover costs, the amount it will rise will be reassessed and considered again early next year.

Councillors also agreed that the £1 charge at the city’s Park & Ride sites should be dropped on April 1 providing the GCP contributes financially, and that plans to introduce more resident parking schemes in the city should continue.


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