Price increases proposed for Exeter car parks in bid to cut congestion and tackle climate change

A further price hike is planned at Exeter car parks in a bid to cut congestion and tackle climate change. 

City council executive members will next week consider whether to increase all-day charges in the Guildhall, Mary Arches and John Lewis facilities by 20 per cent from £15 to £18.

Tariffs would also rise by 10pence for stays between two and seven hours in car parks designated as ‘premium’, ‘zone one’ and ‘zone two’ sites.

‘Zone three’ facilities would see costs rocket by 50pence for a two-hour hour stay, £1 for a three-hour stay, and £1.50  for four-hours and more.

The minimum tariff in all car parks will rise from one to two hours and residential permits will be made free for electric vehicles, under the proposals.

If agreed, the new tariffs would come into force from May.

In April 2019, parking charges rose at every single one of the car parks managed by Exeter City Council, while large tariff increases also took place in 2018.

Proposed new car park charges in Exeter

‘Premium’  sites

Guildhall, Mary Arches, John Lewis

  • Two hours – from £4.40 to £4.50
  • Three hours – £5.50 to £5.60
  • Four hours – £6.60 to £6.70
  • Five hours – £7.70 to £7.80
  • Six hours – £8.80 to £8.90
  • Seven hours – £9.90 to £10
  • All day – £15 to £18

‘Zone one’ sites

Bampfylde Street, Bartholomew Terrace, Harlequins, King William Street, Magdalen Road, Magdalen Street, Matthews Hall, Princesshay 2, Princesshay 3, Smythen Street

  • Two hours – from £3.30 to £3.40
  • Three hours – £4.40 to £4.50
  • Four hours – £5.50 to £5.60
  • Five hours – £6.60 to £6.70
  • Six hours – £7.70 to £7.80
  • Seven hours – £8.80 to £8.90
  • All day – £13

‘Zone two’ sites

Belmont Road, Bystock Terrace, Cathedral & Quay, Haven Road 1, Howell Road, Richmond Road, Parr Street, Topsham Quay, Triangle

  • Two hours – from £3.30 to £3.40
  • Three hours – £4.40 to £4.50
  • Four hours – £5.50 to £5.60
  • Five hours – £6.60 to £6.70

‘Zone three’ sites

Flowerpot, Haven Road 2 & 3, Holman Way, Okehampton Street, Tappers Close, Turf Approach

  • Two hours – from £1.50 to £2
  • Three hours – £2 to £3
  • Four hours – £2.50 to £4
  • All day – £3.50 to £5

‘Zone 3 three’ sites with a maximum stay

Bromhams Farm, Clifton Hill, Gordons Place, Station Road (Exwick)

  • Two hours – From £1.50 to £2
  • Three hours – £2 to £3

A report by director David Bartram to the committee says increasing car parking tariffs will support the authority’s aims of reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and reaching its goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.

It adds: “It will help encourage a move towards electric vehicle ownership by offering free residents’ annual car park permits for such vehicles within existing catchment zones and will deter drivers from using free council car parks as informal ‘off-road storage sites’ for vehicles without sufficient tax or MOT cover to be on the highway.

“The city council and Devon County Council have declared a climate emergency and are committed to achieving a carbon neutral city and county by 2030.

“The county and city are working closely on the Exeter Transport Strategy with the aim of making a significant shift in how people get around the city, with an aim to limit the number of journeys by car that originate or terminate in the city to no more than 50 per cent.

“Clearly there are lots of things that will need to be done to support this ambition, including hard infrastructure, and improvements in alternatives.

“It is clear that, with a stated aim of reducing congestion in the city, the council cannot help support this objective without reasonable and regular increases in tariffs.”

The report says there has been a 7.5 per cent fall in the number of vehicles using council car parks in the last year.

Previous price hikes have seen come from the facilities rise by 7.4 per cent in the past 12 months.

Mr Bartram adds: “While park-and-ride facilities are available and usage is increasing, there is still a great demand for city centre car parking, and we are especially aware of the need to balance the desire from retailers for cheap and plentiful parking with the need to create an attractive environment for those that live in the city and who expect to have good air quality and attractive public spaces.

“By continuing to increase tariffs in an attempt to reduce car journeys into central Exeter and by offering residents within car park permit catchment zones the incentive of free permits if they change to electric-powered cars, this recommendation directly contributes to the Council’s carbon neutral challenge.”

The report says that the council currently relies heavily on car park income to fund many other services across the city.

Exeter City Council’s executive meets on Tuesday, March 10, and is recommended to agree to the new pricing structure.

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