A ‘FUNDAMENTAL review’ of Dorchester’s long-stay parking is needed after concerns over doubling prices, a meeting heard.
Dorchester town councillors have become the latest to voice fears over changes at Fairfield car park.
As reported in the Echo, all-day parking will increase from £2 to £4 from April.
West Dorset District Council says this will ‘bring it in line’ with Top O’ Town car park and others in the area.
The authority is set to make an additional £200,000 a year from the increase.
But town councillors will write a letter of concern after hearing from worried residents.
Councillor David Taylor told the full council that he had been in touch with vandalism victim Lauren Browne and questioned how WDDC could justify doubling prices with no plans to install CCTV.
As reported in the Echo last month, Miss Browne’s car was badly damaged when she left it in the car park to go to work.
Coun Taylor added: “I have been contacted by people in the town about the car park – it is dangerous. It needs to be addressed urgently.”
He said WDDC was ‘running away yet again’ from concerns and not ‘taking any responsibility for it.’ Coun Richard Biggs added: “There is no streetlighting whatsoever in the car park.
“People shouldn’t be charged after dark, which in the winter is about 4.30pm.”
He said that although ins-talling CCTV would be ‘an awful lot of money’, ‘there is no reason why’ the district council couldn’t do it.
Since the proposal to double the price was agreed as part of WDDC’s annual parking report, Dorchester BID, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, Brew-ery Square developer Andrew Wadsworth and several residents have made their opinions known.
Coun Molly Rennie said consultation over the increase felt ‘rushed’ and she and others didn’t have the chance to check details.
Concerns have been raised that the price increase will further push motorists in to residential streets, causing more incidents of vandalism and problems.
Coun Robin Potter said that because of this and other issues, there needs to be a ‘fundamental review of parking around the town.’
Reaction to comments
REACTING to the comments, leader of West Dorset District Council, Robert Gould said: “I am confident the district council consulted its key stakeholders properly about the planned charge increases at Fairfield and that we have made a sound decision.
“The increase aims to bring Middle and Little Fairfield car parks into line with the current charges for permits and long stay parking at Top O’ Town car park in Dorchester, as well as long stay car parking in other towns in the district.
“Setting parking policy requires the council to balance the needs of residents, businesses and other groups, and it is not possible to please all people all of the time. Looking at the wider picture however, the district council continues to offer some of the cheapest parking on the south coast with short stay prices frozen for the last eight years and free overnight and Sunday parking offered in all of its Dorchester car parks.”