Last Updated: 30 Dec 2019 2:59pm
Plans for a borough-wide consultation on new car parking charges in Tonbridge and Malling are to be debated by councillors.
The consultation proposals are due to come before borough council cabinet members on 6 January 2020. They recommend a freeze in charges for a 30-minute stay and increases of between 10p and 80p for longer stays. The rises are the first for two years and if approved are due to come into effect in April 2020. Free parking will continue to operate in town centre council car parks on Sundays and bank holidays and will be extended for the first time to those attending monthly blood donor sessions at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge.
The cabinet will also consider proposals to implement charging at car parks at Martin Square, Larkfield, and the two Bailey Bridge car parks in Aylesford to improve the turnover in spaces and bring them into line with the rest of the borough. The proposed charges range from 20p for 30 minutes to £5.30 for a full day. Similar changes are being considered for the Rocfort Road car park, Snodland, as part of a wider review of parking in the area. The introduction of pay and display charging is also under consideration for nine parking bays at the north end of Tonbridge High Street and a further nine in neighbouring Lyons Crescent.
The changes will be subject to public consultation after which councillors will make their final decision. New and existing car park charges will be open to public comment from 17 January to 9 February. A separate three-week consultation on changes to on-street parking will open on 13 March.
In tandem, the council is ending the system of paper permits for residents’ parking and plans to reduce the cost of permits for registered carers. From Christmas 2019 all parking permit renewals will need to be completed online. The new system will allow the borough’s 4,500 permit-holders to renew more easily and switch their permit between different vehicles whenever they choose. The cost of a single vehicle permit, last increased in 2016, is due to rise from £40 to £45 a year from April 2020. Higher charges will apply for households with three or more vehicles. Recognising their crucial role in supporting vulnerable members of the community, the proposals recommend halving the cost of permits for registered carers, from £50 to £25.
Robert Styles, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council’s Director of Street Scene, Leisure and Technical Services, said: “While no one likes to see the cost of parking go up, we consider it fair that those who use our car parks contribute to the considerable cost of their day-to-day upkeep and planned improvements. As our roads and car parks become more congested, charges can also help local businesses by encouraging a turnover in spaces which makes it easier for shoppers and visitors to find a place.”