Published: 13:48, 07 January 2020
| Updated: 12:16, 08 January 2020
Motorists could suffer a double whammy - above-inflation rises for car park fees and longer charging times.
Dover District Council's cabinet will next Monday vote on whether to impose big rises in several car parks.
One-hour fees could go up by 18%, against the last inflation reading, from the Office of National Statistics, of 1.5% in October.
And the present charging time in all council spaces is planned to be extended from 5pm to 6pm.
But the authority argues that is is still asking for less, and for shorter periods, than in other districts.
An officers' report said: "Parking charges were last increased in Dover district on February 8, 2016, after having been previously frozen for four years."
It added: "The council has a shorter charging period than neighbouring authorities, most of who have charges, which extend into the evening period."
Fees from this would go up from £1.10 an hour to £1.30 at the following car parks:
Dover: Bench Street, Camden Crescent, Ladywell, Maison Dieu, Pencester Road, Priory Road, Stembrook, Castle Street and the Seafront.
Sandwich: Market Street and New Street.
Deal: Beach Street, Middle Street, South Street, Stanhope Road, St George's, Town Hall.
Where staying times allow, the rise for two hours is proposed as £2.20 to £2.60, for three hours £3.30 to £3.90 and for four, £4.40 to £.5.20.
These proposals, also subject to consultation, are for on and off-street spaces.
Another planned change is to replace the residential permit system at Deal seafront with pay and display to let visitors use spaces.
Meanwhile charges at four rural car parks could be introduced at a cost of £1 for two hours.
These are Reach Road, St Margaret's-at-Cliffe:High Street, Eastry: The Street, Ash, and High Street, Wingham.
But the cost for Albany Place in Dover, next to Cowgate Cemetery, is planned to go from 60p an hour to zero.
Officer say that this would encourage visitors to the area and, as this car park is underused, scrapping charges would have minimal financial effect.
The planned new charge times of 9am to 6pm would be for all DDC car parks and pay and display bays.
The council argues that it is still demanding less from motorists.
In Ashford the fee is the same as Dover district at present, £1.10 an hour, but the charges are from 7am to 6pm.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council asks for £1.20 an hour from for 8am to 6pm.
Thanet, in some car parks, demands £2.50 an hour from 7am to 10pm every day.
Dover district usually only charges from Monday to Saturday.
DDC also says that it has lost parking revenues in some areas.
There are no longer charges at Tides bays in Deal,
Income from the Woolcomber Street spaces in Dover has been affected since the closure of Dover Leisure Centre last February.
It has also happened because of new spaces from the St James' Leisure and Retail Park, which opened in 2018.
Income from the Sainsbury's spaces at Deal went when their management was given back to the store chain.
The same has happened in Park Street in Deal, as spaces are now managed by the newly-opened Aldi.
The council's parking strategy had highlighted the need to consider the possible effect on parking demand of St James' for Dover.
But for Deal it highlighted the pressures of parking at weekends.
Peter Jull, chairman of Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade, said: "Whilst it is recognised that lack of availability as much as pricing is a constraining factor for much of the day, in the late afternoon that falls away and there is plenty of space for those wanting to come into the town centre to use local business.
"Rather than extending the period of charging, consideration should be given to something closer to the 'free after three' policies other towns have adopted to encourage greater use of local town centre businesses in quieter periods."
More by this authorSam Lennon