BCP Council has announced it will increase car parking fees and permit prices across the area.

BCP Council says it is facing an 'unprecedented challenge' and is boosting prices in an attempt to raise more finance.

Cllr Mike Cox, portfolio holder for finance at BCP Council, said: “From Tuesday 16 April 2024, BCP Council will be increasing car parking fees and permit prices by an average of 5% in all council-owned car parks and chargeable on-street parking areas across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

“This new fee structure will be implemented because like most councils across the country BCP is facing an unprecedented challenge.

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"The impact of the 5% average increase will see a current parking charge of £2.00 increase to £2.10.

“The decision to increase all council fees and charges by 5% is expected to generate an additional £2.5M revenue this year.”

He hopes this can help protect frontline services to residents in the BCP area. 

He said: "Soaring inflation has driven up costs and many councils are facing an increase in demand for core services, such as social care, education and highways."

“We have been open about the difficult decisions which needed to be made and have taken a responsible approach, rather than deferring tough choices to future years."

Matthew Simms, owner of sneaker store Resneaked in Westover Road, says the increase will add to the already problematic lack of spaces and high costs. 

He also complained that the issue has been exacerbated by parking spaces on Westover Road being replaced by taxi ranks.

He told the Echo: "They only put taxi bays along both sides of this road during Covid whereas before it used to be one side and the other was for public parking.

"Nothing against taxis but a lot of people liked to pull over, get a coffee and do shopping within 10 to 15 minutes. Now there's nowhere unless you're parking in a multi-story."

Rich Slater, owner of SOBO Beach, Southbourne, has also spoken out and said, while it won't affect their trade too much, he would be concerned if he was in town centre.

He said: "if we were in the town centre we'd definitely be concerned, all the evidence shows that accessible, affordable parking bolsters the retail economy, the council is unfortunately having to fill the shortfall left by reduced government funding for essential services by using what mechanisms it has to raise money."