Parking cost to rise to plug £2.6m gap?

Cornwall's Meadow Car Park
Cornwall's Meadow Car Park

PARKING charges in Buckingham’s Cornwall’s Meadow car park will increase, if preliminary budget-cutting proposals by Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) are approved.

Under the proposal, the first hour’s parking would remain free of charge, but the charge for one to two hours would rise from 30p to 50p, and the charge for two to three hours would rise from 50p to 70p. The increase is designed to save AVDC £15,000 in 2012/13.

Town councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “It’s a 66 per cent increase, which is a large increase on a charge that’s only just been introduced.

“Going forward, by the time we get five years down the line we’ll be buying the car park!”

The price hike is just one of a raft of money-saving proposals AVDC cabinet will consider on Tuesday, September 13.

The aim is to cut £2.6 million from the county council’s spending, after central government reduced its grant for this year and next by almost a third.

Other proposals include a £5,000 reduction in the arts activities budget, which could end the Music In Quiet Places initiative.

A £7,500 cut in district play services would end Play Around The Parishes, which brings play activities to children in rural areas.

A suggested £15,000 could be saved by stopping giving people informal advice on the need for planning permission. Anyone enquiring would instead have to make a formal application for a Certificate of Lawfulness.

And a saving of £12,000 can be made by the Historic Building Officer reducing her working hours by one day a week.

Major savings of £567,000 come from slimming down management posts and reducing back-office costs.

Cost-cutting ideas initially rejected include removing free disabled parking, at a saving of £40,000, and scrapping AVDC’s official magazine, costing £5,000.

AVDC councillor for resources Neil Blake said: “We have no choice but to reduce our spending by nearly 10 per cent next year. This is a massive amount of money and is likely to have far-reaching consequences.

“It’s impossible to make reductions at this level without any impact. We have sought to minimise the impact on local people and staff and we are keen to seek the views of others on the proposals. No firm decisions are being taken yet.”

All recommended and rejected options will be looked at by AVDC’s scrutiny committee, which will then forward its views to cabinet before a draft budget is drawn up.