No change in demand expected after Chelmsford parking fee rises

Parking charge increases are not expected to harm footfall in Chelmsford city centre, the council has said in response to concerns over above inflation price hikes.

The council suspended car park charge increases last year to help business coming out of lockdown but now parking charges are set to increase across Chelmsford from April.

Charges on the whole are staying the same for people parking for two hours but will increase by 50p for all other lengths of time.

It means fees for example at High Chelmer and Meadows are set to remain at £3 for two hours but for all other lengths of time fees are set to increase by 50p during the day.

Riverside and Waterloo Lane and Baddow Road car park charging will stay at £2.80 for two hours but all other charging periods will also increase by 50p.

The increases come as the council attempts to recover from the effects of Covid – Chelmsford City Council expects income from parking will increase from the budgeted £5.2m in 2021/22 when Covid affected income badly to £6.7m in 2022/23.

Councillor Mike Mackrory, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, told Chelmsford cabinet on January 25: “We do not anticipate any change in demand in the high street and in the fringes as a result of the increases.

“And to support the retail areas we are freezing the one and two hours tariffs in the local shopping areas and west end.”

However, he said it was impossible to negotiate with Essex Council County to arrive at a mutual censuses so they are linked to park and ride charges set by Essex County Council.

He added: “As far as working with the county council is concerned the city council and county council cannot negotiate car park fees and charges without breaching competition law.

“City council will continue to work with county council with an aim to reducing congestion and supporting economic growth through access to local business.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter