Executive Leader Cllr Robin Howe

Executive Leader Cllr Robin Howe

Early responses to a proposed consultation on plans to increase parking charges across the district have been universally negative, provoking reflection by Huntingdonshire District Council’s cabinet members.

Executive Leader, Cllr Robin Howe, has now asked officers of the council to maintain charges at their present level until further notice.

Cllr Howe said: "I believe we must ensure the economic health of our towns is given priority, and work with the various stakeholders and agencies involved to identify ways of achieving this. To this end I have decided to form a Task Force, which I will head, comprising representatives from each market town, key officers and elected members, including Cllr Tysoe, the portfolio holder for Parking Services.

"This exercise will begin with extensive consultation with town councils and commercial organisations on ways in which consumer footfall and economic growth can be stimulated, and I would like this to lead to a master plan for each town being developed which defines how this growth will be achieved."

As part of this master planning exercise, Cllr Howe has asked officers to begin a review of the council’s parking strategy across the district with a view to developing a more flexible and cost-effective system for the motorist. This will involve changes to technology and an increase in capital investment over the next couple of years. He expects this will lead to a parking charge regime which will be based on ‘pay as you leave’ principles and offers sufficient incentive to support town centre activity.

These plans will be developed over the next six months and announced in the second half of 2017. Parking charges will not be increased until the strategy work is complete and the results accepted by market town representatives and residents.