Parking charges will rise by up to 33 per cent ahead of a review of car parking to help bolster a national park’s budget.
The North York Moors National Park Authority heard while charges for motorcycles would increase from £1.50 to £2 from April, other rises would be “relatively modest” and largely in line with inflation.
The rise in charges – the first in three years – will be introduced from April.
Members were told the authority needed to raise £75,000 so the general short stay rate would rise from £2.50 to £2.70 and the long stay rate from £4.50 to £4.80. Annual all car parks passes are to increase from £45 to £52.50 and frequent user passes will rise from £22.50 to £26.50.
The meeting heard the car parking proposals had been guided by the policies of many of the neighbouring councils.
However, some members expressed frustration over the proposals, having previously had a “full and frank” discussion on the issue which they said had concluded with “a rather different opinion”.
Member Jeremy Walker, a former chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said a number of possibilities were open to the authority and it would have been good to have been aware of their impact on the budget before being presented with a firm recommendation.
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He said: “Our strategy has been to have a rise that will endure. A downside of that is that when you do have an increase it always seems like a large one. This isn’t just about car parking charges. It’s almost like paying for a day’s activity in the national park.”
The authority’s chief executive Andy Wilson said members would hear proposals to overhaul car parking in March, but a decision needed to be made on the fees to enable the car park machines to be re-programmed and for fresh leaflets to be published.
Mr Walker said the authority may be “shooting itself in the foot” by setting car parking charges when there was so much uncertainty over its income due to uncertainty over how much next year’s government grant would be and the amount it would have to pay its staff.
Mr Wilson replied that if the authority did not agree the rise in charges it would exacerbate any potential funding shortfall and that people gave compliments on how the authority did not “squeeze the system” over car parking and even sent donations in the post.
Other members questioned why the park authority did not allow motorists to buy tickets that were transferable across its car parks to enable people to visit a number of places in a single visit.
Officers said the authority did wanted to encourage people to stay in one location rather than long car journeys across the park and that “affordable” permits were available.