'Tourists must contribute' - North Norfolk car park fee increase backed
- Credit: Christopher Dean/iwitness24
Beauty spot car parking fee rises are ‘regrettably’ necessary but should not come at the expense of residents, councillors have said.
North Norfolk District Council is considering increasing fees at 30 of its sites in order to help balance the books.
The possible increase - the first in six years - would cover the car parks in Wells, Cromer and Weybourne, which are some of the region's busiest in the summer months.
Council officer Duncan Ellis, director of resources, told a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday that car parking was a key pillar in helping balance the budget.
He said: “You look forward to 2025/26 we are forecasting a deficit of around £2.5m there is that ongoing pressure to generate income where we can from fees and charges.”
Mr Ellis added the increase is needed to help provide services, including lifeguards, additional street cleaning and litter bins.
Councillors did not object to the raise but disagreed on how they should change.
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Liberal Democrat councillor, Paul Heinrich, said it was ‘regrettable’ that fees needed to rise, supporting a tourism season rise.
However, Mr Heinrich said the increase should not exceed consumer price index inflation rates – a national measure of the change in prices of goods and services.
“We’ve got to remember that our residents face a significant cost of living increase this year if only because of fuel price rises. We have to take that into account, we cannot penalise residents unnecessarily," he said.
“Tourists must contribute fully and fairly to the cost involved."
However, conservative councillor Victoria Holliday argued the car parks were ‘rammed’ all year round and there should be no variance in fees.
Andrew Brown said this was a major revenue raiser and criticised how long it has taken for a review to happen while the government cuts funding for local authorities.
A range of options are being considered, with a 26.6pc increase mooted at the most extreme end. This would see a £1.50 ticket in coastal car parks rise to £1.90. A three-hour stay would rise from £4.50 to £5.70.
An increase to the £7 all-day coastal ticket has not been suggested.
A majority of the committee voted in support of a tourism season charge increase at coastal car parks and an increase to season tickets.
The recommendations will be presented to the cabinet at a meeting later this month which will be followed by a public consultation. Officers hope to introduce changes from July.