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Anger as parking permit fees hiked in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Residents have criticised Canterbury city council for doubling parking permit fees in just two years.

Prices for a 12-month permit - allowing drivers to park in a number of car parks across the town - have risen across the district.

Canterbury residents are forking out the highest prices at £950 - up from £700 in 2017.

Stuart Gosbee says the permit does not always guarantee him a parking space
Stuart Gosbee says the permit does not always guarantee him a parking space

In Whitstable, the cost has jumped from just £350 in 2017 to £700 from this month.

The price has also doubled in Herne Bay, where permits have risen from £250 to £500 in the same period.

Stuart Gosbee is among those who have hit out at the substantial rise.

Living in a flat without a driveway in Cornwallis Circle, Whitstable, he pays to park in Shaftesbury Road car park opposite his home.

Mr Gosbee, 32, who works at Johnsons Garden Centre just outside the town, says the permit does not even guarantee him a space in the busy town.

“When we first moved here in March 2017, the permit was £200,” said Mr Gosbee, 32.

“Last year, it went to £350. At the moment, it’s £525 and in two weeks it goes up to £700.

A graphic showing the increase in parking permit fees over the last two years
A graphic showing the increase in parking permit fees over the last two years

“That money doesn’t guarantee a parking space, and since I’ve been there they don’t seem to have improved the car park at all.

“I work at Johnsons Garden Centre just outside Whitstable so I use my car five days a week.

"I park there from 6pm through to about 9am next morning, and usually park there throughout the weekend.

“You can try to park in the street but parking’s difficult in Whitstable at the best of times and in the summer it’s nigh on impossible.

“Because my permit ended in the end of March, I got it at last year’s price.

"But next year, it will be £700 and then we’re talking almost a month’s wage - with car tax as well - to have a car in Whitstable.

“You’re looking at living on 11 months’ wages, and paying a month’s wages just to park.”

Parking permits in Canterbury have gone from £700 in 2017 to £950
Parking permits in Canterbury have gone from £700 in 2017 to £950

Mr Gosbee says there is currently no option to pay the permit fee in instalments.

He added: “If it keeps going up, we would have to look at whether someone living nearby has a driveway they don’t use, that maybe we could pay to use.

“I have friends in Canterbury and their permits are going up higher and higher, too, by increments of hundreds of pounds.”

The city council says the rise aims to make prices more reflective of hourly parking rates, and claims the permits still "offer incredibly good value for money against the hourly rate".

The council highlighted the potential £6,025 annual cost of parking at Shaftesbury Road across the full charging period of 10am to 9pm, compared to the £700 permit.

Spokesman Robert Davies said: “In 2017/18, councillors agreed permit prices for a three-year period.

"We’re now entering the final year of that strategy.

"In two weeks it goes up to £750... that money doesn't guarantee a parking space" - Stuart Gosbee

“The increases over this time reflect the fact that permit prices had been undervalued compared to the hourly tariff in off-street car parks for many years.

"The aim of the three-year approach was to correct that imbalance.

“Parking permits still offer incredibly good value for money against the hourly rate.

“For example, the annual cost of parking at Shaftesbury Road across the full charging period of 10am to 9pm is £6,025.

"The permit, at £700, offers residents all-year-round parking at a hugely reduced price.

"Residents in Whitstable who do not want to use the car parks on weekdays during the day can apply for the limited hours permit at the reduced price of £400.

"This allows parking between 5pm and 9am, Monday to Friday, and all weekend.

“In addition, we will shortly be introducing the ability to pay for the annual permit across 10 monthly instalments, to help residents spread the cost."

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