Freeze on short stay parking charges proposed

West Dorset Council moves to help shoppers and businesses

SHORT stay parking charges in town centres across West Dorset look set to remain the same for another year.

The district council is next week expected to order a price freeze for the sixth year in a row.

They were also considering removing overnight charges in parks along the coastal strip – including at Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

The proposals are designed to help shoppers and local businesses and were included in a wide ranging parking report being considered by councillors.

The suggestions included:

• Scrapping overnight charges in district council car parks along the coast for two years.

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• A five year programme to replace West Dorset’s ageing ticket machines.

• Improved signs, lighting, layout and safety in the district’s car parks.

• Increases of between zero and 70p for long stay (up to three hours or all day) tickets in district council car parks.

• Increases in fees for quarterly and yearly long stay parking permits.

West Dorset District Council Car Parks Manager Eugene Barnes said:

“The council removed overnight car parking charges outside the coastal strip from 1 November to help generate evening trade.

“We have listened to local chambers of commerce who have asked us to extend this along the coast so that businesses there can benefit too. This could be crucial to some businesses, particularly if the recession deepens next year.

“Meanwhile, some of our car park meters are over 20 years old and have issued more than a million tickets. They need replacing. The newer machines would be networked and notify the parking attendants of stuck coins and ticket jams. They would take credit/debit cards.”

** West Dorset’s town councils will be asked for their views on any proposed increase in parking charges before a final decision in February.