Cost of parking in Norwich could increase

The cost of parking in Norwich city centre's car parks is set to go up and families face a double whammy - because the price of taking a taxi could also be increased.

Norwich City Council makes more than �4m a year from its 14 off-street car parks, but officers are recommending increases which would bring in an estimated extra �117,000 over 12 months if the charges are introduced for the start of November.

The proposed hikes would not see across the board increases, but rather selected changes at certain car parks.

For instance, the hourly rate at the 1,082 multi-storey St Andrew's Car Park would increase from �1.30 to �1.40, while at St Giles, Chapelfield East, Pottergate and Chantry it would go up from �1.40 to �1.50 an hour.

There would be no change at Barn Road or Monastery Court, but hourly rates at Colegate, Queens Road and Rouen Road would increase from �1.10 to �1.20 and at Magdalen Street and St Crispins to �1.10 from �1.

Changes are also proposed which will increase the day-time maximum stay rates at a number of the car parks. One of the most notable changes would be at St Giles car park.

In that car park, the maximum stay rate was reduced from �15 to �8 in last year's review to try to increase the number of people using it.

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But, in the report which will come before members of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee next Thursday, officers say that has had no effect on increasing usage and has actually reduced income from that 330-space car park.

Therefore, it is recommended to move back towards the �15 maximum charge, starting by upping it to �12.

Bert Bremner, cabinet member for planning and transportation at Norwich City Council, said: 'It's income for the council at a time of cuts. One way to make savings is to generate more money.

'But we need to take a balanced approach to any increases, because the idea is that we don't want to completely price people out of parking in the city. 'At the same time, we do not want the city swamped with cars, so it is a matter of getting the balance right.

'People might ask why were are putting them up at a time of low inflation, but it's better to put it up in stages, rather than a lump sum in a few years' time.'

It will cost the council an estimated �2,000 to make the changes, including preparing notices. advertising and changes to signs.

Members of the Norwich Highways Agency Committee - made up of city and county councillors - will discuss the proposed hikes next week, but a final decision will be made by the council's controlling cabinet.

Earlier this year, Norfolk County Council, which runs the six park and ride sites around the city, put ticket prices up by 15pc, while cutting how frequently the services run.

Meanwhile, at another meeting next Thursday, the city's Hackney Trade Association will be asking the city council for the go-ahead to increase what taxis can charge.

The association has requested that in the daytime the current �2.80 for the first 141 metres will be increased to �3 for the first 183 metres, with the current 20p for each following 202 metres changing to 20p for each 197 metres.

In the evenings (6pm to 11pm), where it currently costs �3 for the first 111 metres then 20p per 189 metres, it would change to �3.20 for the first 156 metres and 20p per 184 metres after that.

On Sundays and at night (11pm to 6am), the proposal is for �3.40 for the first 466 metres and 20p per 175 metres after that, to change to �3.40 for the first 306 metres and 20p per 170 metres subsequently.

That means a two-mile trip in the daytime would go up from �6 to �6.20, the same trip in the evening would increase from �6.40 to �6.60 and on Sunday and at night it would go up from �6.60 to �7.

The association is not seeking any increase to the amount it charges while waiting.

Steve Royal, secretary of the Norwich Hackney Trade Association, said the association had last made a fares increase in summer 2008.

He said: 'We have held back from requesting an increase since that date, despite our ever increasing overheads, amongst which are the spiralling costs of fuel oil and a substantial increase in insurance premiums.'

• What do you think of parking and taxi charges going up? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email