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Chelmsford City Council has defended its proposed pricing for Hylands Park – which it says “compares very favourably with other parks”.
The administration has added that – like season tickets for the seven Essex County Council (ECC) operated country parks – Chelmsford City Council may issue a Hylands Park season ticket that comes with additional benefits and rewards.
The proposals for Hylands Park’s three car parks are for daily tickets – between the times of 9am and 6pm – to be priced at £3 for residents and £5 for those living outside the Chelmsford City Council area.
Residents can also buy a weekday season ticket for £5 a month, or £60 a year for those who would prefer to pay annually.
An ECC annual pass at seven country parks for a whole year costs £75 per car or £50 per car for over 60’s/blue badge holders.
Councillor Robert Gisby, who has campaigned against the charges, said: “The proposed charges are very different from those in existence for ECC country parks – £75 per year at seven country parks over the whole year.”
He asked a meeting of Chelmsford City Council: “Can the cabinet member advise me whether this charging system that has been adopted by ECC was considered by the city council when forming your proposals?”
Cabinet member Chris Davidson said: “We compared the pricing structure to various other parks in Essex – including those run by ECC and I think our proposal compares very favourably with other parks.”
The £3 discounted change available to Chelmsford residents who park for an hour will be cheaper than or same price as the same rates charged at all seven of those ECC country parks.
He pledged that for those staying more than two hours, Hylands will be the cheapest of all eight of these parks.
Cllr Davidson added: “A season ticket could evolve into a pass with visitor benefits and awards.”