A FATHER could be forced to fork out hundreds of pounds because of a controversial price hike at a Dorchester car park.

Maumbury Road resident David Crane does not have access to on-street parking and pays for a permit for Fairfield car park.

As reported in the Echo, West Dorset District Council has decided to double the price of an all-day parking ticket at the car park from £2 to £4 from April.

Mr Crane and other residents will have to pay hundreds more a year because of the change.

Mr Crane says that problems began in mid-2013 when the council abolished weekly passes, meaning that on Wednesdays residents would have to pay £28 or find alternative parking.

Since then he has been lobbying for a residents' parking scheme but he says his requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Mr Crane says he has been told by WDDC that the current tariffs at Fairfield are ‘undermining the pricing strategy of long term car parks’ and need to be brought in line with Top O’Town.

Mr Crane, who works from home, said: “Every other street around here either has public parking or some form of permit scheme.

“Whilst I appreciate the council’s explanation that the car park is all about tourists, shoppers and visitors to this town, I find the fact that they’re simply ignoring that it’s used by local residents to be as baffling as the fact that they’re not willing to create a cheaper permit scheme for a street of six homes that would solve all our problems permanently overnight.

“This is my first time having an issue that has necessitated me speaking to the local council, and let’s just say my perception of it being there to assist the community and its residents has been sadly diminished and left me feeling that there’s really nowhere to turn to find a resolution.”

As reported in the Echo, other residents, business figures, the Dorchester BID, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and the developer of Brewery Square have all raised strong objections to the price hike.

It is estimated that WDDC will rake in an extra £200,000 a year through the controversial proposals.

Mr Crane says it will ‘literally double’ his day-to-day parking costs.

He added: “From what I can read in regards to the parking prices being brought up to match Top ‘o’ Town car park, the price of the yearly permits for this car park are also going up from £240 to a whopping £720, so one permit will cost more than two old permits.”


Setting parking policy in the town

Leader of West Dorset District Council, Robert Gould said: “Setting parking policy requires the council to balance the needs of residents, businesses and other groups and it is not possible to please all of the people all of the time, particularly in town centres where on-street parking is often limited.
“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, including Fairfield.
“Residents can also buy season tickets to cover three, six or 12 months parking and this represents a good saving against daily charges, particularly as the Fairfield level 5 permit can be used for other long-stay car parks in Dorchester and across the district.
“From April 2014 changes to the district council’s schedule of charges will bring Fairfield into line with other long stay parking provided by the district council in the town.”
The council says a ‘level 5’ parking permit ‘equates to £13.85 per week parking or £2.30 all day parking – still a very competitive rate.’