City council approves Hylands parking charges

Parking in one of Chelmsford’s beautiful large parks will be cheaper than initially proposed after Chelmsford City Council agreed its ‘complicated’ fee structure.

This will be slightly cheaper than initially proposed but the city council insisted some payment is required, not least to help balance its COVID-damaged finances.

The more complicated fee structure for parking in Hylands Park has been defended in keeping it fairer for those using it.

A new one-hour charge, annual season ticket options for non-residents, and a seven-day per week season ticket option for Chelmsford residents have been agreed following two separate rounds of consultation.

It means a one-hour charge of £2 for residents and £3.35 for non-residents for those who wish to stay up to an hour.

Parking for more than an hour will cost £3 for residents and £5 for non-residents. Five and seven-day annual season tickets for Chelmsford will cost residents £4.50 and £6 a month respectively.

Five and seven-day annual season tickets for non-residents at £6.75 and £8.25 a month respectively.

Chelmsford residents may also add a second car for £1.35 a month for five days ( £16.20 a year) or £1.80 a month for seven days (£21.60 a year).

Chelmsford city Council says introduction of parking is essentially to help fill a £1.7m budget gap created from Covid-19.

Savings of £2m in the current year have already been needed to balance the budget for this year because the effects of Covid.

Councillor Chris Davidson, cabinet member for finance, told the cabinet meeting on October 12: “The figure of over £2m that we needed to make in expenditure cuts and increase charges, including the Hylands charge for this year, will only halve the gap.

“There is still a £1.7m gap to make up for before we can present a balanced budget for next year.

“That number changes over time as things happen.

“While I understand people saying they don’t want to see parking charges at Hylands, it’s not enough.

“We have to find an alternative way to fill the budget gap this would leave and we have to do it without double counting for measures we are going to take anyway to balance next year’s budget.”

Leader of the Tory opposition group Councillor Roy Whithead (South Hanningfield) said the charges were overly complicated.

He said: “It is still pretty complicated for the poor souls who go there to actually pay the thing. I think we need to try to simplify it.”

Council leader Stephen Robinson added: “We have made it more complicated but fairer is often more complicated.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter

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