PERMITS used by visitors and tradesmen in parking zones outside the city centre are to more than double in price from next week.
A single permit currently costs 60p for 90 minutes, but that will jump to £1.45 – an increase of 141 per cent, compared with a four or five per cent rise on most other types of parking permit across the Capital.
The permits are handed to family and friends visiting residents living in zones S1-S4 and N1-N5 and often to plumbers, painters or other tradesmen working on homes in the area.
If a tradesman needed to park for a whole day – from 8.30am to 5.30pm – it would currently cost £3.60 in permits, but that will increase to £8.70.
Garry Clark, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the increase was “very concerning”.
“We have a lot of members in the city who are small businesses, sole traders and tradesmen, who are going to be affected by this as well as the residents.
“The last thing we want to do is price local tradesmen out of the market.
“We have serious concerns both about this and also the wider issue of the rising cost of parking in the city.
“For all that we would like to reduce pollution in our cities, we need to recognise the reality of the situation – people need tradesmen and tradesmen need their vans for their tools, parts and equipment.
“This is another cost at a time when people least afford it. Taken together with rising parking charges and Sunday parking controls, it seems a bit relentless from the council. It’s time to put the brakes on.”
Residents can buy the permits in books of ten - currently priced at £6, but about to be £14.50.
One resident said the permits made life so much easier when she had friends with children coming to see her. “Finding somewhere to park is a nightmare,” said the mother-of-two. “I can understand there might be some increase, but this is going up by more than double – it’s a bit steep.”
Conservative transport spokesman Nick Cook said: “Many residents in controlled zones require visitors permit books to allow family and friends to visit and help with essential things, like childcare.
“They will no doubt be shocked and disappointed at this disproportionately costly price hike, given they already pay a premium for their own parking permit.”
Green transport spokesman Chas Booth said the permits were still cheaper than the equivalent pay and display charges and less than a single bus fare. “So, from that point of view, the increases are still on the modest side.”
And transport convener Lesley Macinnes also defended the increase.
She said: “A review of visitors’ parking permit charges was agreed almost a year ago as part of the Parking Action Plan, and aims to bring changes to the cost of visitors’ permits, which haven’t risen since being introduced in 2006, in line with those for other kinds of permits that are subject to annual increases.”