Sunday, 20 August 2017

Six per cent increase in parking charges

CHARGES at Mill Meadows car park in Henley are set to rise by more than six per cent next year.

CHARGES at Mill Meadows car park in Henley are set to rise by more than six per cent next year.

The fees will increase by 10p to £1.40 for up to an hour’s stay, by 20p to £2.70 for up to two hours, by 30p to £5.30 for up to four hours and by 50p to £7.50 for more than four hours.

Residents’ parking permits will rise by £20 to £290 per annum or by £5 more to £80 for those aged 65 and over.

Annual season tickets for local small businesses will rise by £10 to £300 but the weekly (£12), monthly (£35) and quarterly (£95) charges will stay the same.

The rises will be introduced from January 1.

Henley Town Council, which is responsible for the car park, says the increases are necessary to meet the costs of improving Mill Meadows.

An officers’ report for councillors said the rises were unlikely to put off visitors. It said: “Any increases in charges for parking at Mill Meadows always engenders public dismay, however the fact that little trade is lost to the station car park nearby, where charges are lower, suggests that income from the car park is not in fact particularly price-sensitive.

“The convenience of access straight on to Mill Meadows from the council’s car park is a factor and visitors are able to enjoy the open spaces and play areas free.”

Daily charges for the duration of Henley Royal Regatta have been frozen at £13 for the Wednesday and Thursday and £15 from Friday to Sunday.

Mooring fees at Mill Meadows will remain £9 for an overnight stay and £55 for a week but the annual permanent mooring fee will rise by £10 to £160. Liz Jones, the council’s accountant, told members of the council’s Mill Meadows and river sub-committee: “I have not suggested increasing the regatta parking. It has taken people two to three years to realise that it is there and is competitively priced so we should stick with this.

“I have suggested increasing resident permits and for the moorings we are keen to keep it at £9 due to the competition up and down the river. We want people to come to Henley.”

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak said: “Mill Meadows is absolutely brilliant and we are improving it steadily but it doesn’t come for free.

“We are doing up the toilets and the playground and recycling the rubbish, which is a great environmental plus.”

The committee approved the recommendations but the decision will need to be ratified by the full council.

Mill Meadows car park made a record £183,000 in 2011/12 but only £161,000 the following year when the weather was poor. It is hoped that the figure will exceed £180,000 by the end of the current year.

Meanwhile, the council is to seek funding to refurbish the public toilets at the Leichlingen pavilion in Mill Meadows. The work is expected to cost up to £100,000 and Cllr Gawrysiak said an application would be made to South Oxfordshire District Council’s community investment fund.

“Our intention is to get this done in February or March so when it opens in the summer it is sparkling,” he said.

The council has appointed consultants Robert Rigby Architects, of Reading, to come up with a design, find a builder and supervise the construction work at a cost of £16,325.

The committee also agreed to a survey of the toddler playground to be carried out by children’s play equipment provider Kompan free of charge prior to refurbishment.

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