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Plan proposed to make park and ride sites free from April

By Ben Comber

St Andrews St. Picture: Keith Heppell
St Andrews St. Picture: Keith Heppell

The region's Liberal Democrats have proposed a joint city and county venture to fund the service.

‘Don’t cut city centre car park charges: use the money to scrap the parking charge at Park and Ride sites on the edge of the city’. That’s the message from Liberal Democrat councillors who have set out a plan to scrap the £1 parking charge at Park & Ride sites.

Under the Lib Dems’ plan the city council would fund free Park & Ride parking on Mondays and Tuesdays, paid for by reversing proposals to reduce charges for city centre car parks on Mondays and Tuesdays, and by keeping Wednesday to Friday charges up with inflation, instead of frozen.

At the county council, the Lib Dem plan would fund free Park & Ride parking for the rest of the week.

Tim Bick, Lib Dem leader on the City Council, says: “Our joint plan would abolish the £1 parking charge, which has reduced Park & Ride usage and increased congestion, air pollution and parking problems in the city. This is our challenge to the Labour-run city council and the county council’s Conservatives who introduced the charge in the first place: use our joined-up plan to abolish the charge now!

“This is also a challenge about Labour’s approach to transport policy. Their plan for car park charges is an appalling example of politicians saying one thing and doing another. If they want to tackle congestion and air pollution and commuter parking on city streets – as Cllr Lewis Herbert claims – they’ve got to encourage people onto public transport. Labour’s plan to cut city car park charges on busy weekdays sends exactly the wrong signal and will increase our transport problems.”

County Council Lib Dem opposition leader, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha says: “We opposed the £1 charge from day one. With our City Council colleagues, we now have a clear plan for getting rid of it, in the interests of people living outside and inside the city.”

For weekends, the Lib Dems say they support the general case for bringing city centre car park charges on Sundays up to the level of Saturdays, as nowadays there is little difference in congestion between the two days.

“However, we’re proposing one very practical exception for short stays in the Grand Arcade car park up to midday on Sunday,” says Cllr Bick. “For these we would freeze charges, rather than increase them by up to 30%. This is because bus services first thing on Sunday mornings are scarce, and city centre church congregations, which are much more dispersed than for neighbourhood churches, haven’t yet got a good alternative to using the car.”


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