Residents to get cheap parking?

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RESIDENTS from the Whitby area could soon take advantage of a discounted car parking scheme.

Proposals for a trial scheme have been unveiled which will see residents benefit from a 10% discount at local authority off-street car parks.

“We feel this is a way of giving something back to the people of the borough, “ said Councillor Andrew Backhouse, portfolio holder for technical services.

Scarborough Borough Council’s Car Parking Review Group is recommending a scheme to allow residents to top up cards at machines or at the council office before using it to pay for parking.

Initial purchases on the card will then attract a 20% bonus, with a 10% bonus for every £10 purchase after that.

The group is proposing to make available 2,000 smart cards on the trial, reviewing the usage and cost later in the year.

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

The move coincides with the introduction of 57 new, solar powered parking machines in Whitby and across the rest of the borough.

Coun Backhouse added: “We have had this idea for a few years as we are aware parking charges across the borough is a bit of a stick-in-the-throat point with residents, certainly in tourist hot-spots where they feel they are being targeted.

“We are aware that parking charges are at the top end of the scale, and are mindful of the need to increase footfall.”

The review group met earlier this month to consider opportunities for residents’ discounts and decided the Park smart scheme was the most suitable. John Riby, head of technical services at the council, said: “The Pay One card offers flexibility. “The card offers the facility to have any value on the card and can be topped up at the machine and used as an e-purse.

“They can be vehicle or person specific and offer an option to make the card valid only in certain car parks or towns.

In this current difficult financial climate the preferred option represents the least financial risk to parking income and would be the most cost effective to introduce.”

An example of the discount given is on some long stay car parks £50 would be 10, 24-hour stays.

A report which was presented by the group at a council meeting on Wednesday, stated any discount offered will have a potential impact for the council on income achieved from off street car parks.

However it is anticipated this will be offset as “users of the cards are likely to stay longer in the car parks and will be encouraged to use car parks more regularly knowing a discount is on offer”.

The council faces a one off purchase cost of £2,450 for the card recharging unit, and up to £9,300 for 6,000 cards.

The discount scheme will only be available at car parks where the new machines have been installed across the borough.

And the discount will only be available when cards are topped up at Whitby’s tourist information centre in Langborne Road or at the Customer First Centre in Scarborough. The council also hopes to develop an online facility for topping the cards up too.