THE one of a kind residents’ parking discount is set to make a 2022 comeback after it was scrapped by the council in hopes to make savings.
Senior councilors agreed at a cabinet meeting to implement one-hour free parking at six car parks across the Royal Borough, costing the local authority £135,000.
The revised discount covers Alma Road and Alexandra Gardens in Windsor, Grove Road and West Street in Maidenhead, Horton Road in Datchet, and Meadow Lane in Eton.
The scheme, which will be implemented from April, is to entice shoppers back into the town centers and high streets.
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The £135,000 revenue loss will be covered by the inflationary increases in fees and charges across car parks.
According to the council paper, pre-Covid data shows these car parks were predominately used by short-stay users and have been popular destinations when the previous scheme was implemented.
Permits will be provided through the RingGo App as a ‘permit solution’ where residents will need an account to be registered on the scheme and there will be a two-month application process to access the discount.
Applications will start in February. Once approved, it will last for up to two years.
West street car park
Because RingGo works on a ‘zone system,’ residents will have to apply for the discount in each individual car park. However, the two Windsor car parks are zoned as one car park and so are the two Maidenhead car parks, meaning residents will have to make one application for Windsor and another for Maidenhead.
Support will be provided through the libraries, drop-in sessions and via telephone for those without smartphones.
Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, December 16, councillor David Cannon (Con: Datchet, Horton, & Wraysbury), lead member for parking, said: “We have worked with RingGo on this and because we are at the cutting edge of this, we are one of the few, if not the only, borough that is actually delivering residents’ [parking] discount, we had to adapt existing systems and break new ground with this.”
But opposition members said other popular car parks, such as the Hines Meadow car park in Maidenhead, have been missed out and called for them to be added to the revised scheme.
Hines Meadow car park
Cllr Cannon acknowledged adding all the car parks would be “popular” but is “financially prohibitive”.
However, he didn’t rule out adding more car parks as the scheme goes on.
The old scheme entailed residents with an advantage card were entitled to discounts at council-operated car parks.
Back in 2020, residents were furious when the Conservative-run council decided to scrap the residents’ parking discount scheme element in order to save £650,000.
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More than 7,000 people signed a petition to save the discount, with one campaigner calling the move “penny-pinching”.
But Cllr Cannon said the council is now in a position where it is “financially responsible” to introduce a revised scheme.
Meanwhile, Cllr John Bowden (Con: Eton & Castle) welcomed the revised discount, adding there was “substantial misuse” of the previous scheme where advantage cards were “offered around” parking machines.