PLANS to impose an above-inflation increase in parking charges in a Yorkshire town have drawn more criticism after traders attacked council bosses over the move.
Members of Labour-run Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet voted for the increase last Wednesday, which will see many of the town’s car parks charging 10 per cent more.
On street parking charges will rise by around 15 per cent, but the authority said it would cushion the blow by reducing charges in some “unpopular” car parks further from shops.
Last week, retailers told the Yorkshire Post they were “disappointed and frustrated” at the news, and criticised council leaders for failing to consult them on the idea.
The council is grappling with a £46m four-year savings target and it is hoped that increasing charges will raise around £100,000 after the £7,500 costs of implementation are paid.
But members of the independent group on Barnsley Council said the £100,000 benefit would be “cancelled out” by the effect of the rise on business in the town centre.
Leader Phillip Birkinshaw said: “I know the council is struggling for cash but £100,000 is not going to have a significant effect on the problems Barnsley is facing.
“We should be trying to encourage people to come to the town centre not putting them off with increased parking costs.
“I have already been told that business is bad in Barnsley town centre and a number of market traders have told me they will not be returning after Christmas.
“The disadvantages of introducing this increase will far outweigh the advantages. We already have a lot of empty shops and if people continue to stop coming to Barnsley, that will get worse.”
The decision to increase parking charges will have to be ratified by the full council at a meeting in January before it can be introduced in April.