New Forest District Council will reintroduce car parking charges from Monday 1 June in their town and village car parks.
On-duty NHS and social care staff will be able to continue to park for free with a pass from their employer as part of a national scheme*.
Car parking charges in town and village car parks were suspended in late March as part of the Council’s response to the Coronavirus.
Cllr Edward Heron, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Infrastructure said, “We felt it important to offer free parking during the stay home lockdown to support essential journeys from carers and NHS staff, but the time is now right to reintroduce parking fees.
In line with the government’s gradual lessening of restrictions it is appropriate for us to reinstate parking charges.
And, like many organisations, we have been affected financially by the Coronavirus.
We are looking carefully at how the money we receive from central government, Council Tax, and from fees we charge, will enable us to continue to provide essential services for our community.
The decision to suspend fees was only ever a temporary move and income from parking fees is an important revenue stream for us.
At £1.00 for the first hour and £25 per annum for people with a short stay 3 hour (‘shoppers’) parking clock the charges in our car parks remain among the best value in the south, in a deliberate move to balance the need to charge for parking with the desire to also support our high streets.
We of course continue to support the NHS free parking scheme in all our car parks.”
Income from car parking fees goes towards the upkeep of the car parks as well as supporting the council’s general fund.
To put this in context, without car parking income the average Council Tax bill would have to rise by £49.00 to continue with the current level of council services.
People parking in NFDC car parks are reminded to continue to follow the 2 metre social distancing rules.
Customers without parking clocks can use the Ringo payment system from their phones, or cash payment in the ticket machines.
Where there is a sufficient mobile telephone signal, contactless payments at ticket machines is also an option.
Ticket machines will be displaying notices this week to advise people that charges will be in place from 1 June.
Customers with first quarter long stay parking clocks (January – March) can use them throughout June.
Those purchasing new second quarter long stay clocks for the remaining 30 days of the quarter (April – June) can be purchased for £12 online http://newforest.gov.uk/parkingclocks