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An extra 2% on council tax bills and 20p an hour more to park in most car parks

Council tax bills and parking charges are both set to rise in the Canterbury district as the city council wrestles to find a further £5.5m in savings.

It is proposing putting up its share of the council tax by 2% and slap extra 20p an hour on most parking fees.

Canterbury City Council leader John Gilbey
Canterbury City Council leader John Gilbey

But motorists in Whitstable could pay 30p more an hour to park at the Gorrell Tank.

Council leader John Gilbey says the increases are necessary to balance its books in the face of a new cut in Government funding.

The measures could also include further ‘small scale’ staff redundancies as the authority considers another internal reorganisation.

Other proposals in the draft budget, due to be considered by the council's executive next Thursday, include closing Herne Bay and Whitstable museums and the Canterbury Heritage Museum during the winter months - although it is continuing to talk with local groups who could run them on a voluntary basis.

Further savings are being planned in its Civic office with the The Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Canterbury likely to attend fewer events.

Council leader John Gilbey admitted the measures would be unpopular but said the authority had no choice.

But he pointed out the 2% council tax increase amounted to just 7p a week for a band D property.

Traders in Sittingbourne and Sheppey are backing calls for free parking in small town centres
Traders in Sittingbourne and Sheppey are backing calls for free parking in small town centres

He said: “The world of local government funding has now changed for ever and we have to think like much more of a commercial operation.

“We have to accept that there is far less money available and that we must find new and less expensive ways to provide the services residents expect of us.

“This will not be an easy task and involves a radically re-thinking everything we do. We will be interested to hear residents’ views over the next few weeks as we work to finalise the budget.”

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