FREE parking for Ashbourne’s residents could become a thing of the past, after support was given to plans to charge for the district council’s permit.
A consultation as part of an on-going review into parking has found that half the members in a panel of consultees would consider paying a ‘small fee’ for their residents’ parking permit - which is currently free.
Half of an Ashbourne citizens’ panel focus group said they would consider paying a ‘modest’ fee, which ranged from £5 to £10, for their annual permit - which allows free parking in Derbyshire Dales District Council car parks before 11am and after 4pm.
According to a recently published document updating councillors on the results of the consultation ahead of the review, which is due to be implemented in October, council bosses do not think there is a ‘clear appreciation of the amount of revenue that is foregone’ to provide the permit - which is in the order of £3.5 million per year.
However, according to the report: “Some residents and traders felt that removing the residents’ permit could lead to residents shopping elsewhere where parking is free, ie Sainsbury’s or out of town, thereby affecting local trade.”
Half hour parking has also been discussed during the consultation phase of the review, which ran through February and early March, and consultees were supportive of a shorter rate being adopted in Shaw Croft and the Market Place, with 84 per cent of the citizens’ panel urging the authority to consider the option of a 30 minute charge.
Focus groups say the amount charged for the half hour parking should be between 50p and 70p but concerns have been raised that people may ‘gamble’ and pay nothing and a suggestion is listed in the review that the half hour option is provided free of charge.
Support has also been given in the consultation for charging blue badge holders to park, as well as increasing the number of ways to pay.
Signage, directions and coach parking were also highlighted as problems in Ashbourne as was seasonal parking capacity during the busy and warmer months.