Car park charges come back into force

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Last Updated: 21 May 2020 2:03pm

Car parking ticket machines in council-owned car parks in Tonbridge and Malling will be switched back on at the end of this month as more people return to work and schools prepare to re-open.

Charging will apply from Friday 29 May, two months after ticket machines were turned off at the start of lockdown. Proposed increases in charges due to be implemented in April have been deferred along with plans to introduce charging at free car parks in Aylesford, Larkfield and Snodland.

Anyone using the car parks is being reminded to observe hand hygiene and to consider using mobile payment. Drivers paying with cash at the machines are urged to wear gloves or to wash or sanitise their hands before and afterwards.

The move is the latest step towards restoring council services which were suspended during the “stay home” phase of the government’s pandemic response. Weekly household waste collections are now operating as normal and outdoor leisure facilities, including ball courts and tennis courts, have re-opened.

Committee meetings have also resumed online with the first meeting of cabinet held earlier this week. A report outlining the council’s response to the pandemic highlighted the financial impact of lockdown, including the loss of revenues from car parking and other fees. Lost income from parking since March is estimated to be approximately £600,000 with total losses from all sources forecast to be £3-5 million for the year to April 2021.

Robert Styles, Tonbridge and Malling’s Director of Street Scene, Leisure and Technical Services said: “With more people returning to work and our roads and towns getting busier, we want to ensure sufficient parking is available and there is a turnover in spaces. Extra signage will be in place to remind people of the need to pay and to observe hand hygiene.”