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Changes To Parking Charges In Herefordshire

Hereford Voice

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Following a decision taken by Full Council on 10 February, Herefordshire Council will apply an inflationary increase to its parking charges from April this year.

Residents and businesses will also be asked for their views about on street parking in roads that surround the historic centre of Hereford.


The new parking charges will take effect from Monday 3 April 2023 where a 20p per hour increase will be applied to all zone 1 and 2 car parks in the county. Charges at zone 3 car parks, however, will be frozen so that it becomes increasingly more cost effective for drivers that are able to, to park further away from our central areas.

The review of on street parking is in line with the Local Transport Plan (LTP), approved in 2016, which sets out the council’s strategic objectives for parking. This includes managing the supply and pricing of parking to encourage the use of active and sustainable travel choices, and supporting our long-term growth proposals in Hereford through the delivery of longer-term parking provision, such as Park and Choose, and to rationalise and reduce the supply of commuter parking in the centre of the city.

Cllr John Harrington, Cabinet Member Infrastructure and Transport, said: “We need to be proactive when setting our parking charges as we are faced with inflationary pressures on the costs of the parking services and those services which parking income is used to support, such as public transport. I am pleased that we are once again able to freeze the prices in our outer zone 3 car parks so that those that use them daily will not be affected by this small increase.”

“We understand that there will be some local concern that the introduction of parking charges to free parking areas will mean that the city centre footfall will reduce as a result, but in fact, better management of parking facilities leads to reduced congestion, improved air quality and road safety, promotes the local economy and ensures good accessibility.

“Professional surveys undertaken in the identified locations have recorded an average of 541 parking events between 30 minutes and 2 hours each day, excluding residents with permits. An estimated 40% displacement into off street parking or other travel means would see nearly 70,000 parking trips displaced from our city streets annually, improving space availability for businesses and residents, creating more turnover and helping our visitors.

“We are keen to hear the views of residents and businesses in the streets where these proposals will apply. Letters will be sent to affected properties, along with Ward Councillors and other stakeholders, in the coming weeks so they can get in touch directly as part of the process.”

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In an exclusive interview with Hereford Voice today, Cllr. John Harrington, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Transport, said: 

"No one particularly wants to pay more for anything in life, but we live in a world that has inflation increasing regularly each year as a reality and reaching the highest levels for decades in 2022/23. When we came in as an administration in 2019, car parking charges (including on-street charges, which our Conservatives colleagues brought in as it happens) had not been adjusted for inflation since 2016. We made a big inflationary uplift in 2021 to play catch up and took the opportunity to bring in a zoning system - Green (Zone 3 Work and Stay) Yellow (Zone 2 Visit) and Red (Zone 1 Central) - to help users make choices about their journeys. We also agreed to do more regular inflationary uplifts so that increases felt proportional and weren't a shock. We will be increasing car parking charges in the Red and Yellow Zones by 20p per hour this year but freezing it in the Green Zone car parks (like Merton Meadow and St. Martins in Hereford and Broad Street in Leominster and Bridge Street in Ledbury). People who want to go and park more centrally will pay more. Those that have disabilities will continue to have bays provided and they are also entitled to park in any Council carpark or on-street bay for free, provided they have their blue badge. Concessions are also available for trade-persons (they just need to ring the parking team, easy to Google) and there are season tickets available for commuters, as well as evening season tickets for City or town centre residents who want to use the carparks to park at night.

The revenue that we earn from car parking charges goes to cover the cost of the service, with the surplus going to cover other services the Council provides, like school transport and subsidised buses. Councils run carparks to manage congestion in their urban centres, primarily (we have had car parking charges in Herefordshire for decades obviously) but also to support local and national policies, such as decarbonisation of transport. Making urban centres cleaner, less congested and more pleasant spaces generally by discouraging, for example, the 5 circuits around Broad Street, King Street, Berrington or Aubrey Street, for a free or cheap spot, means people who can park a little further away like the Swimming Baths in Hereford and walk the 'half a mile' into town for a proper wander, will spend more time and money in centres. It is unfortunate how much we come to rely on parking revenue as Councils to top up things like school transport but that, in Herefordshire, can be laid quite legitimately at the feet of our two MPs, who voted repeatedly to cut revenue grants to Herefordshire (they county they were elected to represent) under successive Conservative governments, so that we have £100 million less revenue coming in in 2023 than we did in 2011;

MP Bill Wiggin - https://bit.ly/BillWiggin

MP Jesse Norman - https://bit.ly/JesseNorman

The reason we had to raise Council Tax by 4.99% the week before last is in very large part due to our MP's inability to sit on their hands or champion Herefordshire against instructions from Westminster when the time to vote for huge cuts came. Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire (all Conservative controlled) have, or are looking exactly the same or very similar rises in Council Tax (despite the impression given to the contrary in the lovely glossy ad by Herefordshire Conservatives in the Hereford Times last week - a paper no longer fit for purpose as a source of clear and balanced news but very good if you want to know what everyone's favourite roast dinner is, or you need to line the litter tray).           

Herefordshire compares reasonably fairly to other local big towns or Cities in terms of charges (with almost all of those towns and cities giving notice they are having to raise charges again this year). As Cwmbran will no doubt be mentioned again, Cwmbran has a large amount of free parking due to a shopping centre there that provides 3000 spaces for anyone to use, meaning the council has given up trying to manage parking itself. I also think that people who complain about having to spend £2 or £3 pounds for a couple of hours parking but will then go and spend that or double that on a coffee or a pint (before you consider their more substantial spend on their shopping) need to consider if the parking charge is actually fairly reasonable. I'm not denigrating those on low incomes, for which I understand the struggle, but questioning the majority of people who complain.     

It's not easy being a Councillor or working for a council at the moment, there is little money (and none of the backhanders every brainiac on social media keeps telling us about) and tough choices to make, not least about the urgent need to address the Climate Emergency, which most commenters seem to have forgotten about, but we all do our best and try to balance all the decisions we make. The simple fact is, if you don't like that, and don't share this administration's values, you vote for someone else in May. That's democracy. The one thing I would ask though, please, is to put your mark in the box based on facts and not ignorance"  




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