Published: 09:51, 06 November 2019
| Updated: 20:35, 06 November 2019
A radical shake-up in parking provision and charges in the district is being recommended by the city council in an urgent bid to save money and meet its climate change declaration.
If approved, it will mean fewer car parks in Canterbury city centre as well as higher and new charges to contribute to the £5 million in savings it has to make by 2024.
Watch KMTV's interview with Cllr Nick Eden-Green about the proposals
The measures have been revealed in far-reaching new budget proposals, and include putting up the cost of a green bin and introducing a new charge for collecting garden waste.
The controversial raft of parking changes are designed to steer more drivers to the currently under-used park and ride sites.
Canterbury has the worst ratio of park and ride provision to city centre parking spaces of six other similar historic cities surveyed.
The proposals are largely driven by the need to plug funding caps and the authority's recent decision to declare a climate change emergency in Canterbury, which suffers poor air quality.
Council chief executive Colin Carmichael said: "It's a real departure from what we have done before.
"We expect these proposals to go down well with people who are concerned about the environment."
Among the more radical recommendations is charging different tariffs at different times of the day, with drivers arriving to park in the city centre between 7.30am and 9am charged more.
And a new city centre overnight parking fee of £2 is being recommended.
Users of most council car parks across the district would be paying an extra 40p per hour within three years.
Residents and business permits would increase and discount permits for worshippers would be scrapped.
But there would be discounts for drivers of electric vehicles, and the park and ride charge would remain the same as it has been for six years, at £3.50.
On the coast, it is proposed that free parking would end in Whitstable before 10pm and after 6pm in Herne Bay, while a seasonal tariff increase would be introduced in Herne Bay's Neptune car park.
The proposals have come about following a report to council officers by specialist traffic consultants, who advised the authority that radical measures were needed if the council was to meet its ambitious declaration to become carbon neural by 2030.
The increases would also allow the council to invest in electric buses as well as raise extra money to support its increasingly squeezed budget.
Consultants have also advised the authority to reduce the number of parking spaces in the city centre and consolidate them in the largest car parks.
Rosemary Lane and the Ivy Lane end of Longport car park are already earmarked for closure and now Northgate car park could be shut. The future of Holman's Meadow, Castle Row, St John's Lane and Hawks Lane will be examined in the future.
Mr Carmichael said: "These proposals represent the biggest changes we've made to parking in the district for several years.
"Driven by climate change and the need to increase income to maintain essential frontline services, we have taken a very close look at all our charges and our overall approach to parking in reaching this package of measures.
"Some of the other proposals will be less popular, but it has to be seen within our overall budget position of needing to find significant savings.
"Parking is one area where we can use income to help our financial situation, instead of cutting the services that people rely on day to day."
The proposals go before the council's policy and resources committee at 7pm on Wednesday, November 13.
But members could decide to make alterations before putting the recommendations out to public consultation.
More by this authorGerry Warren