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Parking charges to double at Dorchester car park
PARKING rates are set to double in one of Dorchester’s most popular car parks.
West Dorset councillors have agreed to raise the cost of all-day parking in Fairfield car park due to ‘increased demand’.
The council predicts it will make an extra £200,000 a year as the price of a ticket to park between 8am and 6pm increases from £2 to £4.
The annual parking report, which was agreed by the executive committee, says prices need ‘aligning’ with the rates at Top O’ Town car park.
Opinion is divided over the proposals, with some saying it is ‘not surprising’ and others worried about the knock-on effect to residential streets.
The report explains: “Demand in this one area of Dorchester is threatening to outgrow supply.
“As such, more must be done to encourage visitors to use the Dorchester park and ride gateway facility.
“It is proposed therefore, that by aligning the charging structures in these two car parks, it will provide a more consistent ‘banded’ approach to parking in Dorchester that will encourage a more evenly balanced dispersal of parking habits and, it is hoped, encourage more town centre employees, short-term contractors, commuters and even business owners to use the park and ride.”
The changes, which come into force in April, mean a £2.60 charge for up to three hours of parking where there is currently none.
Town councillor David Taylor said: “It’s outrageous. We have got great trade and investment and we have managed to keep the town vibrant.
“The town council has endeavoured to make sure that independent retailers and bigger businesses are well looked after.
“This is not going to make them happy. It’s the price of a cup of coffee in town which people will now have to spend on parking and not investing in local trade.”
He said he is concerned that more people will now use residential parking around the town and particularly in Poundbury.
Elsewhere the agreed proposals are ‘good news’ for shoppers and traders as prices in most other district council-owned car parks remain frozen.
Barrierless pay on exit parking will be piloted in Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Bridport and Sherborne.
Phil Gordon of Dorchester BID said: “That the council is bringing the price of Fairfield car park in line with the charges in car parks across the rest of Dorchester isn’t really that surprising.
“There are quite a few measures that have been agreed which are extremely good news for Dorchester. Bringing one car park price up to £4 is a very difficult thing to argue against when you look at the cost of parking anywhere else.”
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