For the first time in six years car parking charges in East Hampshire are set to increase to provide funding for vital front-line services – and other fees and charges are set to go up by at least 10%.
EHDC only currently charges for parking in Petersfield and Alton, with the rest of the district’s car parks being free.
Now charges are set to go up by an average of 26.7% (we have rounded to the nearest 10p to make the transaction simpler, which is why this is a specific percentage) and our one-hour parking is expected to increase from £1 to £1.30.
The increase, if implemented, will be less than the equivalent cost in inflation over the six-year period while charges were frozen. The accumulated inflation rate over a six-year period is 27.1%.
The council has protected the district’s communities throughout Covid and the cost-of-living crisis by consciously taking the decision not to increase parking charges since 2017.
The increased parking charges will be considered by Cabinet on Thursday 16 November, after consideration by Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 9 November. You can see the proposed fees and charges on the agenda for that meeting below.
Increasing non-statutory fees and charges, which includes things like pre application planning advice and a garden waste collection service, are part of the council’s long-term strategic plan to ensure it has a robust financial strategy for the next five years so that it can protect front-line services. Making these increases will also be considered by Cabinet on 16 November.
The garden waste collection will also see an increase, rising to £120, allowing us to invest in service improvements and ensuring that this non-statutory service is not subsidised by the taxpayer.
Cllr Tony Costigan, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Property, said: “There has been no increase to parking charges since 2017, and following a review, we feel that the time has come to increase them.
“We have to make difficult choices to ensure that we can continue to provide important services and invest in projects to help those who most need it in the district.
“To futureproof the finances of the council we need to make some tough decisions and this is one of them.”
Cllr Charles Louisson, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “We are tackling the financial issues we face head on by focusing on our long-term strategic plan - and this means we have to make these kinds of decisions now.
“With ever-decreasing funding from central government and higher costs we have to act now to ensure we can continue to deliver what our residents need.
“We are planning for the next five years so we need to make these decisions today. Together with efficiencies made across the organisation, this will help secure the council’s finances for the future.
“These increases will ensure we can continue to fund our front-line services and invest in interventions that will have the biggest impact on our communities so that we are in a position to help those who need us the most.”