Somerset

Taunton Deane parking fee hikes debated by council

Castle St car park, Taunton
Image caption Car park charges are set to go up across Taunton Deane if proposals are adopted by the council

Car park charges in Taunton Deane are likely to increase for the first time since 2011 under plans being debated later by the borough council.

In addition to car park tariffs going up, Taunton Deane Borough Council is also planning to scrap free parking on Sundays and for blue badge holders.

Councillor Roger Habgood said: "It's not just about the income, it's about providing better car parking."

The plans will also need final approval at full council before being adopted.

'Times of poverty'

Although charges could be brought in for blue badge holders, they would still be legally entitled to park on double yellow lines.

Richard Pittman from Compass Disability, said: "It's a difficult one as blue badge holders are not means tested and there are some people who can afford their parking but there are an awful a lot of disabled people who are in times of poverty and this is an extra thing to pay for."

A total of £920,000 will be raised every year with the new tariffs. Almost half the income, some £400,000, will be spent on maintenance and upgrading the car parks.

Motorists may still use residential permit parking areas to avoid the Sunday parking fees, as permits are not required on a Sunday.

However the council has said it will review this with Somerset County Council in case it leaves residential areas clogged up.

The issue has been recommended for approval by the corporate scrutiny committee which will meet on Thursday evening.

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