Discount parking is on the cards

A NEW system of discounted parking for residents at local authority off-street car parks is a step closer after councillors opted for a system using smart cards.

The decision was taken by members of Scarborough Borough Council’s Service Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the matter will be referred to the cabinet next month.

And if approved the scheme – which has been dubbed “Park Smart” – could start as soon as June.

John Riby, the council’s head of technical services, said that some of the existing parking machines had reached the end of their working life and needed to be replaced with machines which could handle the new smart cards – the move coincides with the introduction of 57 new solar powered parking machines across the Whitby area and the rest of the borough.

Proposals for a trial scheme would see residents benefit from a 10 per cent discount at off-street car parks and the cards could be topped up at council offices before using it to pay for parking.

Initial purchases on the card would attract a 20 per cent bonus, with a 10 percent bonus for every additional £10 purchase.

It is proposed that initially 2,000 cards would be made available on the trial and use and cost would be reviewed later in the year.

And, if the initial take-up of cards is significant, then approval will be sought to increase the number to 4,000.

Coun Cecil Ridley said that there was a possibility that not all residents would want to take advantage of the offer.

And Coun Ann Preston asked: “How long is a card valid for from when you purchase it?”

Mr Riby said: “It will go on for as long as you want to keep it.”

Coun Nick Harvey said that public transport should still be the preferred option for travel to and from the area.

Residents have said they want some benefit of being residents.”

Under the new scheme the council faces a one of cost of £2,450 for the card recharging unit, and up to £9,300 for 6,000 cards – the discount scheme would only be available at car parks where the new machines were installed.