Conservative car park charge increases start in January

On 5 December 2018, Conservative Elmbridge councillors voted to increase the charges in Elmbridge car parks – at a level well above inflation. They also voted to extend the hours of charging. These changes were implemented in January 2019.

Lib Dems and Residents councillors opposed these changes but had insufficient votes to overturn the Conservative Administration’s proposals.

We sought to stop these changes by proposing “that the Portfolio Holder and relevant Officers consult with Members with a view to producing a revised range of proposals in which increases are generally more in line with current levels of inflation.”

Despite the Conservative administration agreeing to a review of these changes, they did not follow their own recommendation that “The Portfolio Holder agrees with the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee any wider terms of reference.”

Instead, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee were subsequently limited to reviewing free Saturday parking in some village car parks, and a group was set up to complete this review by the deadline set of March 21, 2019.

This review resulted in a very rigorous examination of evidence of usage, feedback from stakeholders, and the basis on which decisions on car park charging could or should be made. Currently, the council has no principled criteria they use when setting car park charges and timings.

A more substantial review of the charges should be initiated in June when the new council is installed.