Parking charges in city centre car parks are set to rise next month.
Canterbury City Council describes the increases as “modest” and insists they are necessary to fund improvement projects.
Whitefriars will increase from by 10p to £1.90 an hour. Watling Street, Holman’s Meadow and Queningate car parks will increase by 10p to £1.80 an hour.
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Castle Row, Castle Street, Longport, Miller’s Field, Northgate, North Lane, Pound Lane, Rosemary Lane, St Radigund’s, and Station Road West will increase by 20p to £1.70 per hour.
Day rates for the park and rides will go up by 50p to £3.50.
The council explains the increases as part of a four-year parking plan tied in with improvements to the streetscene and the automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR) being introduced across the district.
“These projects aim to reduce congestion through the use of technology and encourage economic growth in important areas of the city.
“This approach to charging was given very careful consideration to ensure it is in line with our Transport Strategy and that we remain competitive with other historic towns and cities.
“Setting out a four-year strategy also gives greater certainty to the business community about charging levels.
“It’s all about getting the right balance between the different charges, where you pay a bit more for premium parking in the city centre but can park more cheaply all day at park and ride.”
But some traders are not impressed.
Debbie Barwick, who runs the Revivals vintage fashion shop in St Peter’s Street, speaks up for the interests of independent traders in Canterbury.
She said: “Every increase in parking charges is another nail in the coffin for small business.
“I had hoped with the purchase of Whitefriars, they might have changed their minds about it.”
The increased charges come into effect on April 1.
According to the council’s strategy, the authority has no plans to raise charges further in the 2019/20 financial year.