In a boost to town centre businesses, Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, announced at last night's Cabinet meeting that parking tariffs would be frozen across the borough for another year.
The Cabinet were considering the annual Fees and Charges report, which reserved the right to bring back a further report to increase parking charges for 2018/19. The Cabinet were clear that this report would not be required and that they had no plans to increase car parking charges at this time.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Nick Adams-King, said: "We are committed to keeping car parking charges as low as possible to encourage people into our towns and to stay there for longer. I'm pleased that we've been able to freeze the prices for 2018/19 and that we are cheaper than our neighbouring authorities."
Councillor North said: "When I was elected to the leadership of Test Valley I made it clear that one of my top priorities was to sustain and rejuvenate our town centres. In Romsey we have been working in partnership with Hampshire County Council to deliver shared space improvements in Church Street and Bell Street. In Andover we are building a brand new leisure centre; working with the County Council through the Andover Vision to create a new urban park on the banks of the Anton; developing exciting plans for the Former Magistrates' Court and I've longer term aspirations for a more fundamental overhaul of our shopping space. Our whole approach is about trying to attract more people into our town centres and decrease vacancy rates - now is not the right time to increase parking charges."
Parking currently costs just 50p for half an hour and less than £6 for a whole day. In addition, all Council car parks are free after 4pm, overnight and all day on Sundays and bank holidays.
The Council will also be promoting its Christmas car parking voucher scheme again this year, which gives drivers an extra hour of parking when they purchase a minimum of one hour.