18-Feb-2019

On 14 February 2019 Huntingdonshire District Council’s cabinet unanimously approved the funding to implement ‘Pay for What You Use” parking charges in Huntingdonshire’s off-street car parks and the first stage of a major programme of improvements in our off-street car parks.

The move to ‘Pay for What You Use’ charging will, it is hoped, benefit local businesses and our market towns by encouraging visitors to stay for longer, and not need to rush back to their cars in time for an expiring ticket. 

Executive Councillor for Operations and Regulation, Cllr Marge Beuttell said: “Supporting our high streets has been a key plank of our manifesto and I am keen to do all I can to support them. I believe our high streets have a lot to offer. I want to ensure that our parking approach is flexible enough to allow our visitors to spontaneously decide to stay on for something to eat, enjoy some entertainment, or to take the chance to go for a coffee, rather than be forced to rush back to the car. It will be good for our high streets and good for visitors and residents.”

In addition to the move to ‘Pay for What you Use’, which will see payments being made when you return to the car to the nearest 15 minutes, rather than having to pay in advance in hour blocks, the improvements will see contactless payments enabled in all our off-street car parks as part of a refresh of all parking machines, and the roll out of a parking app for mobile phones, making payment quicker and more convenient. The commitment to delivering ‘value for money’ remains, with charges kept lower than those in comparative areas. 

The approval follows a thorough and far ranging review of car parking which included a major public consultation, engagement with local stakeholders and mapping of the future demand on the service driven by planned housing growth and anticipated changes in car park demand. This work was shaped and reviewed by a cross-party group of councillors and resulted in the Off Street Car Parking Strategy (approved in October), which informed the plans. 

Cllr Marge Beuttell said: “Having undertaken a major public survey to better understand what our customers expect from council-run car parks, we have listened to what local residents, businesses and visitors want. People are busy and want convenience, they want choice, they want flexibility and they want to be able to do things when they want to do them. Our new approach seeks to keep things simple, and to give visitors the choice of how they use our services. The conversations I have had with the public show the approach to be popular, particularly with those with children and those in a hurry.” 

Proposals will be brought forward in the future to offer further enhancements to our off-street car parks. Proposals for wider bays, where possible, are currently being developed, as well trebling the number of car charging points, and improving lighting. We remain committed to exploring other technologies to further improve the visitor experience.