Scrooge! Thurrock Labour set to hike up car parking charges

THURROCK Council is set to consider increasing parking charges for the first time in three years.

The council’s cabinet will discuss the possibilities of increasing parking charges tonight ( Wednesday ).

Thurrock’s Parking Services lost more than £150,000 in the last financial year.

Portfolio holder for public protection, cllr Phil Smith said in his report"“The current car parking service doesn’t have enough income to break even, let alone support the provision of essential extra parking maintenance and improvements.”

He added: “There has been little investment in car parks for many years, and unfortunately many of our parking areas are in need of resurfacing, ticket machine replacement and signage improvements.

“When we have to replace signs and machines, it also makes sense to increase charges as that would mean changing signs and machines anyway.”

He said: “In July the Planning, Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee supported a blanket increase in off-street and on-street parking charges to provide the necessary funding.

“We are also looking at increasing parking provision around Thurrock and especially at Purfleet close to the station where people parking on the road can cause traffic problems.”

The Tory opposition are less than impressed with the proposals:

Conservative highways spokesman Sue Little said "Labour’s Phil Smith is this years Christmas scrounge. On one hand he will give us the four Saturday’s leading up to Christmas free, but for the rest of the year put up car parking fees. Why should Thurrock residents be punished for the Council’s inept handling of parking services that came in at a loss last year?"

She added: "Does he think Thurrock residents and traders have all lost the plot? He says that little investment has been used for updating car parks under Labour but glosses the nearly £1million in parking fines they failed to collect, more than enough to refurbish all the car parks in the borough.

"Rather than hiking the price for everyone they need to be looking at a more efficient administration and collection system, to reduce the cost of issuing and collecting tickets issued. They should also look to take on private parking enforcement like at Morrisons in Grays to raise revenue. Keeping the cost of parking low will help our High Street businesses no end in attracting customers throughout the year, making Thurrock a more attractive place to start businesses thereby increasing our business rate income.

"Remember our local traders are for life not just for Christmas!"

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