Motorists across Sheffield are set to be hit with a 40 per cent increase in parking charges at residential on-street bays.
A report by Sheffield Council says cheaper petrol prices and higher public transport costs mean more people are being tempted to use their cars.
Now the council plans to increase parking charges by 20p an hour – from 50p to 70p – in on-street zones in areas outside the centre.
The areas include parking zones in Broomhall, Broomhill, Sharrow, Highfield and Crookesmoor as well as pay and display parking in Hillsborough and Fir Vale.
The report says increasing parking charges is a way the council can influence whether drivers use their cars when other forms of transport are available.
But shop owners in Hillsborough said any increase in parking fees would hit trade.
Michael Bingley, of florists Flowers by Victoria, said: “The parking has killed it down here.”
Sheffield Council transport member Mazher Iqbal has criticised proposed parking fee rises and said motorists should not behit in the pocket in ‘these difficult times’.
Coun Iqbal said he had not seen the report, despite being named as a consulted member, and says he ‘completely distances’ himself from the document.
The council’s transport and parking manager Paul Fell says in the report: “The net result of motoring costs reducing and public transport costs increases over time will be that car trips become relatively cheaper and drivers are therefore less likely to choose more sustainable modes of travel for at least some of their trips.
“The way in which the council can affect the marginal cost of using the car is via parking charges.
“Increasing the parking tariff will impact on decisions made by car drivers on whether or not to use a car for a trip where there are alternative modes of travel which might be utilised.”
A final decision on the charges will be made on Thursday – but the report adds that the council does not need to consult people on ‘straightforward tariff changes’, which were last increased in 2013.
Coun Mahzer Iqbal said: “The report is unacceptable and I have had it pulled. I completely distance myself from those comments in the report.
“Why the heck would the council want to penalise drivers financially in these difficult times? If fuel prices are going down, that’s a good thing. We don’t want to bleed more money out of people. It’s nonsense.
“I am a member of the Fairness Commission. For the past few years, I have been fighting to see an increase in the living wage and reduce the pressures that families face.”
He added that transport issues need a ‘common sense approach’, adding: “Officers are saying that in certain parts of the city you shouldn’t be allowed to take a car. To me, that’s unacceptable. It’s not your fault if public transport isn’t available on every street.”
One long-stay zone in Highfield is being reduced from £4 for 10 hours to £2.80 due to a lack of use.
The changes will come into effect on October 1 and will only affect on-street bays in the ‘Peripheral Parking Zones’, which also includes Broomhall and Hillsborough. The city centre is operated on a separate scheme and is not affected, and neither are off-street car parks.
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