Blue badge holders to pay for Chichester car park?

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TICKET prices in city centre car parks look set to rise in a bid to cash in an extra £80,000 – and disabled drivers may have to pay at one site.

Proposals to be considered by Chichester District Council’s cabinet on Tuesday would see new charges implemented from April 1, 2015, following a rise in April this year.

There is also the possibility of charging for the disabled bays in the Avenue de Chartres car park, which are currently free to blue badge holders.

“The authority does not legally have to provide free parking for blue badge holders and there are approximately one-third of councils across the UK who already charge blue badge holders to park,” says a report prepared for cabinet members ahead of the meeting.

The report claims the impact will be mitigated by providing more free spaces in other car parks in the city.

The move to charge has come about because of a new pay-on-foot payment method set to be introduced at the Avenue de Chartres car park, which would see drivers pass through a barrier when entering and leaving the car park, having to pay for their ticket at a machine as they are about to leave.

Currently, there is no barrier and drivers buy a ticket when they arrive for the length of their stay, with the area monitored by parking officers.

Charging disabled drivers is the cheapest way of implementing the scheme.

Other options considered included asking blue badge holders to apply for a membership card or press an intercom button and show their blue badge to a CCTV camera when leaving the car park.

“Should blue badge holders be required to pay within this car park there will still be the potential to park for free on-street and in other council-owned car parks within the district,” says the report.

“Evidence from recent monitoring of the disabled bays within the Avenue de Chartres car park suggests that the current nine spaces designated for disabled drivers within this car park are not particularly well used.”

The overall increase in the council’s parking fees would be ‘in line with inflation’, according to the report.

“It is felt these increases are modest and are in line with other neighbouring authorities, thus leaving Chichester’s competitive economic advantage unchanged.”

The tariff changes could lead to an additional £65,000 in revenue for the council, plus £15,000 from season tickets.

An all-day ticket in a long-stay car park, such as the Cattle Market or Northgate, would rise from £4.80 to £4.90.