Amanda Taylor

News and views about Cambridge and Cambridgeshire politics, especially Queen Edith's Learn more

Tory Park and Ride parking charges: back to the drawing board

by admin on 12 September, 2013

P&ROn Tuesday, Cambridgeshire County Council‘s all-Conservative Cabinet approved bringing in parking charges at the five Park & Ride sites in Cambridge.

Yesterday, I was one of a group of opposition councillors (Liberal Democrats plus a few Labour) who called the decision in, to have it looked at by a committee comprising councillors from all parties represented on the Council.

Today the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny COmmittee disapproved the unpopular move. Before any charges are levied, there must be:

  • consultation / engagement with districts/city and users
  • a proper assessment of risks and other options
  • consideration of whether this is a “key decision” as it is a strategic change to start charging

We haven’t won the war yet, but this is a victory for people power and the principle of the public having a voice over their services.


8 Responses

  1. Chris Rand says:

    Well done Amanda – and colleagues – for not standing by and letting this happen.

  2. Steve Udall says:

    Charging pedestrians and cyclists for parking at the Park & Ride sites will simply increase parking on the surrounding streets and cause more congestion in the areas on the outskirts of Cambridge.
    I fail to see how this decision encourages exercise and promotes a healthy life style.
    Charging for parking will actively discourage people who wish to use the sites and bike or walk.

    Futhermore any increase in the cost of using the sites makes it much more attractive to drive into Cambridge to park, once again causing more congestion.
    The whole concept on the park & ride sites is to reduce traffic going into the city, not encourage it.
    Cambridge County Council is showing the whole country how to improve facilities and conditions to encourage cyclists, charging cyclists for parking goes against this whole concept.

  3. Thank you Chris, I have passed your words on to colleagues. I appreciated your post on Queen Edith’s Online too.

    Steve: I agree with all your points, and did my best to persuade the Tory Cabinet about parking displacement on Tuesday. The answer came back that they would put in parking restrictions, but having spent many many hours on pushing for yellow lines near the hospital, I know that’s not a quick or a cheap solution.

    It is very ironic to be championing cycling on one hand and charging for it on the other!

  4. Philip North says:

    As a user of the Madingley road site who lives in south Cambs I’ve only recently found out about this. I haven’t seen any sort of notification put up anywhere telling us about this anywhere on the site.

    I don’t use the bus but I have rented a cycle locker from the Council for over 4 years so I am already contributing to the upkeep of the site.

    Add the parking charge to the locker rental and it’s going to cost me £370 a year. I don’t need to cycle to work and I could easily drive in to work for a free parking space but I wanted to do my bit to keep unecessary cars out of Cambridge which is what the Park and Ride sites were originally for.

  5. Sylviane Moss says:

    Amanda – thank you for this. I am afraid I was totally unaware of the new charges. I commute from Suffolk to the Newmarket P&R, then take the Jubilee Cycleway, I won’t repeat Steve’s arguments, there is a total lack of common sense in this decision as well as an obvious hypocrisy from the “Cycling town of the UK”. I am now contemplating the possibility to make use of the free parking space I have in town or to park near one of the Marshall sites. None is appealing but adding around £150 a year to my already expensive commute is not appealing either!

    • Thank you for your comment, and I do sympathise. £1 a day may not sound much, but it mounts up. We have called upon the Conservatives who run Cambridgeshire County Council to consult with users, but they take the view that since no one will support the charges there is no point. I believe this is a disgraceful way to treat people.

      We maintain that this has not been thought through, and would like to see the Council increase its revenue in other ways, such as small retail at the Park & Ride sites similar to what they have at railway stations.

  6. Susan Holt says:

    Charging everyone £1 to park at Park and Ride sites is ludicrous. It will increase the cost of travelling into Cambridge using the Park & Ride by 67%. Surely being able to use the Park and Ride to go into Cambridge to shop brings in enough income for the Council to be able to maintain these areas. Otherwise more people will be trying to park in side streets and the Council will have to maintain the roads, which will be a greater to cost to them! Surely it would be better to impose a congestion charge on the roads, rather than hit the people who are trying to preserve the thoroughways of Cambridge by coming in on the bus!

    • Thanks for your comment Susan.
      The Park & Ride sites actually do not bring in enough money to cover costs, but we believe there are other ways of plugging the gap. And we do not mean not honouring pensioners’ passes.

      Yes, I too fear that more people will park in side streets. In the area I represent, we are near Addenbrooke’s Hospital so we already have lots of commuter parking and are worried that it will increase.

      I absolutely agree with you, but Cambridgeshire County Council is currently run by the Conservatives, who take a different view.

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