Time to end ‘myth’ that Norwich City Council is killing the city centre, says councillor - as parking charges go up
PUBLISHED: 09:03 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:43 12 October 2017
It’s time to kill off the ‘myth’ that Norwich City Council is killing off the city centre, a councillor has said - as City Hall increases parking charges.
The Labour-controlled cabinet this evening rubber-stamped an increase in the price of tickets at its off-street car parks, which will mean drivers will pay an extra 10p an hour at the majority of the council-owned car parks.
Evening charges will go up by 20p from £2 to £2.20, with multi-storey car parks, such as St Andrews Car Park, Rose Lane and St Giles affected, along with surface car parks such as Rouen Road and Queens Road.
Tickets last went up in November last year and the hike will mean parking charges add £95,000 over a full financial year to City Hall’s coffers, on top of the projected £5.65m.
But Mike Stonard, the city council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, defended the increase and hit back at critics of recent changes in the city centre.
He said: “I want to say something about the myth being peddled by certain people, including letter writers in the EDP and Evening News and a council leader, that the city council is killing off the city centre.
“That’s nonsense and it’s not true. This city centre is vibrant and it’s growing. It’s doing exceptionally well.
“We saw an extra 200,000 visitors to the city with the tunnel of lights last Christmas and figures like that are really, really healthy.
“If you look at our vacancy rates through the recession, they were really low, especially when compared to some towns and cities. The city centre is growing and vibrant.”
Mr Stonard said the council had invested in car parks, with St Giles refurbished and the award-winning new multi-storey car park in Rose Lane built and opened, while the removal of through traffic had improved areas such as Westlegate and All Saints Green.
He said: “We have created much more pleasant environments and we are making sure people can park in good quality facilities is close to the city centre as possible.”
On the parking increase, which will come in from November 13, he said it helped keep the council’s car parks competitive and generated money to invest in facilities.