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Thursday, 20 November 2014

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South Lakes night-time parking fees to be ditched

HEAVILY-CRITICISED night-time parking fees in South Lakeland look set to be scrapped — but a councillor says Lake District motorists will foot the bill.

If approved next week, the proposals would mean drivers paying for parking in the Lake District until 8pm.

However, the changes would not apply elsewhere in South Lakeland, including Ulverston.

Windermere councillor Ben Berry, who has been vocal in calling for the end of overnight parking charges, criticised the plans.

He said: “Whilst I welcome the effort to remove night-time charges from across the district, it has been achieved solely by heaping the burden on our Lakes residents who already contribute most.”

However, Councillor Ian Stewart, portfolio holder for economy and enterprise, rejected the claims and said the plans would offer residents a choice.

A report to South Lakeland District Council cabinet members suggests extending the charges in car parks in Bowness, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere until 8pm.

But it also proposed a site in each town that would retain the old cut-off point of 6pm.

Cllr Stewart said the chosen car parks would be slightly further from the town centre.

He added: “If people want to be close to the centre then the car parking charges continue until 8pm.”

Cllr Stewart added that there was pressure on the council to standardise car parking in the Lake District, where paying to park until 8pm is the norm. He said: “But we are making sure there is one car park in each of these places that finishes at 6pm.”

Currently the daytime rates apply from 8am until 6pm.

The changes could see users paying £3 extra to park after 6pm.

In Ulverston, the plans to introduce an overnight parking charge of £1 between 6pm to 8am caused outrage when it was announced in 2011 and then brought in last year.

Town councillor Norman Bishop-Rowe, who fought the charges when they were introduced, said: “This will help the night-time economy, which has suffered.”

He said the charges had upset visitors to the Coronation Hall and put them off going.

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