Today we announced the outcome of the annual review of car parking charges. From Tuesday January 4th the Council will freeze short stay car park charges in the town centre at Broad Street Mall, Queens Road and the public ‘car park B’ of the Civic Offices.
As well as benefiting the many residents and visitors who drive into the town centre, it is hoped that the price freeze in short term charges will provide a welcome boost to town centre businesses by encouraging even more shoppers into the town.
As well as the above freezes, long stay charges in Hills Meadow car park are set to be cut significantly from £12 a day to just £5 a day. Charges will also fall significantly at Kings Meadow car park from £12 for a day’s parking to £7. Cattle Market car park will also available now at a new rate of just £4 a day, again down from £12. Some medium stay charges will increase, as some charging bands are abolished. However, all these charges offer good value for money for longer stay shoppers and commuters alike.
Outside the town centre, parking at the local car parks at Chester Street,Caversham and at Recreation Road and Dunstall Close in Tilehurst will all remain frozen at 2010 prices, benefiting residents who want to drop into local businesses to do their shopping, and again providing a boost for local traders.
The new car parking charges are intended to complement the existing Park and Ride services available in Reading, offering more choice to visitors and residents alike.
These car parks are managed by NCP under a contract with the Council and it was the result of some tough negotiations that the charges have been largely frozen or cut. The original proposals that came to me included some sizeable increases in short-term charges and in the Caversham and Tilehurst car parks. After Labour’s very large (averaging about 15%) increases in charges implemented earlier this year I was keen to ensure that those using our town centre and outlying car parks were not hit hard once again.
The freezing of short stay charges and the cut in long stay charges in the town centre will be good news for many people, and the freezing of all charges in the local centre car parks will help to ensure that the small traders in those areas are supported.