Northampton Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to keep two free hours parking on weekdays and freeze the £2 weekend charge in all multi-storey car parks.
Some increases have been proposed which would see evening charges from 5pm rise to £3, with hours extended to 10am the following morning.
There would also be changes to charges for between two and five hours, with a flat fee of £4 for the whole period, rather than the hourly charges currently in place.
Cllr Tim Hadland, Cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “We considered a number of possibilities and this was the only option which allowed us to keep the two-hour free parking during the week and maintain all-day charges for the weekend at less than the price of a coffee.
“Colleagues and I discussed the proposal which I believe would encourage visitors to stay in Northampton for longer, as they’d have either a two-hour or five-hour option, rather than paying hour-by-hour as they do now.
“Government grants have shrunk year on year which means the Council has needed to find other ways of creating a balanced budget. We’re doing that through a combination of increased income generation, charges and council tax.
“While we do our best to manage any cost increases, inflation impacts on all the services we deliver, be that staff salaries or rises in the cost of contracts. We can only hold fees and charges for so long before we have to increase them.
“I’m sure people will understand that our car parks are ageing, so cost more in maintenance to ensure they are fit for purpose and safe. In 2018-19 we had to increase the maintenance budget to over £700,000 and know we have some major work to do at Mayorhold Car Park.”
All-day charges in all car parks will remain at £8 and Sunday parking in surface car parks will remain at £2 for the day.
Following Cabinet’s decision on Wednesday 20 February the proposals will go out to consultation during which everyone will have an opportunity offer their views.
Statutory consultees will be approached for comment during the coming week, then the three-week public consultation will launch the following week.