Extra hour of free parking considered for Barking and Dagenham residents as part of cost of living support package

Barking and Dagenham residents could soon benefit from an extra hour of free parking and 10 free visitor permits as part of a cost of living support package from the council.

Barking and Dagenham Council is considering doubling its one-hour free parking to two hours in all council-owned car parks and is looking to offer households living in a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) 10 free visitor parking permits within the first year as a way of supporting residents during the cost of living crisis.

According to a cabinet report, the council also wants to extend its free parking within shopping parades from 30 minutes to an hour.

Daniel Connelly, a parking design manager at the council, said: “The cost of living crisis is an ongoing issue within Barking and Dagenham with rising fuel, heating, food and mortgage and rent bills.

“We are mindful that in this current climate the decisions we take to implement new parking schemes or how we operate existing ones does have an impact on our local residents, particularly financial as residents are required to pay to park when visiting shopping hubs, local green spaces and other local services and amenities via car.”

The council hopes residents will take advantage of the free parking so they can better access the doctors, the parks, medical centres as well as attending local churches or carrying out a weekly shop.

Visitor parking permits are currently sold at a rate of 75p for four hours, £1.38 for the day or can be bought through a scratch card booklet which is £7.50 for 10 half-day sessions and £13.80 for 10 full-day sessions, Mr Connelly added.

He went on to say: “Both elements of this proposal are designed to provide better value for money for residents and visitors.

“In addition to reducing the financial impact, there are also other benefits to this proposal, such as improved access to free parking which enables more residents and other visitors, particularly those who are most affected by the ongoing cost of living crisis, to utilise local services and amenities at no cost during the extended free-parking periods.”

Mr Connelly said the council’s parking department is expected to underspend for the year 2023/24 and won’t be impacted by a potential loss of income if the plans were given the green line.

According to the 2021 Census, more than half of Barking and Dagenham’s population were deprived at 62.4per cent.

The plans will ultimately be discussed at a Barking and Dagenham council cabinet meeting next Tuesday (July 18).

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Ruby Gregory

Local Democracy Reporter