Car parking rise in Aylesbury Vale

It could soon cost you more to park in Buckingham or Winslow.

Aylesbury Vale District Council's discussing introducing new car parking fees to help save more than £750,000 in the next tax year.

At a council meeting next month it is being recommended that charging is introduced for long and short-stay parking in Buckingham. It is also being suggested that charges are introduced at the Greyhound Lane car park in Winslow and that tariffs be increased at Market Place.

The plan for car parking in Buckingham would include creating a new long-stay cark park at Buckingham Athletic Football Club in Stratford Fields and creating more short-stay spaces at Cornwall's Meadow, to try and encourage more shoppers in to the town.

It is proposed the charges would start from April 2010 and be fixed for two years, but the package would allow for free car parking in Aylesbury Vale District Council car parks in the run up to Christmas each year.

Councillor Neil Blake, the Cabinet Member for Resources, told Heart:

"I don't think it'll have a significant impact. I think in the short term people may react unfavourably but I think given the charging levels, I don't think it'll prevent them or stop them coming in to those rural towns."

The car parking charges would be introduced alongside a proposal to increase council tax in Aylesbury Vale by just £2.50 a year for the average Band D council tax payer.

Councillor Blake thinks this is a fairer way to do things:

"If you look at the overall situation in The Vale, it would be wrong for people outside of Winslow to pay for free parking in Winslow. It just doesn't seem justifiable. If you live in Wendover, why you should be supporting free parking elsewhere in Aylesbury Vale? The free parking would be a cost to The Vale generally and would be reflected in the council tax bills that people receive. So by charging in Winslow you're making specific charges for a specific area which is funded locally."

Other recommendations being made to help make the savings include:

 A freeze on staff pay and members’ allowances in the next financial year
 Introducing charges for providing pre-application planning advice
 A small reduction in the amount of funding awarded to voluntary and community groups
 Removing the council’s funding contribution to the Parklife event in Aylesbury, the Buckingham Festival Fortnight and the Buckingham Tourist Information Centre
 Ceasing funding to the Reflex Gym in Winslow

Councillor Blake said:

"We've gone right to the bottom line to see where we can make savings. We had to make savings of a million pounds for this next year alone, which is quite significant for a district council. We've made about £750,000 of savings in thirty areas. We've had to be very, very hard and it's not easy to stop services or reduce funding to organisations. But in difficult times, difficult decisions have to be made.

"This has been a very, very difficult time for everyone involved in setting the budget. Of course you're bound to upset some people somewhere in making these savings. The important thing is we've managed to retain our main frontline services and we'll do all we can to make sure we don't have significant job losses in Aylesbury Vale."

The final decision about the changes will be made by full council on 3rd February.