Kirklees Council is looking to increase its fees for residential parking permits by over 200 per cent, with a £150 increase already in place for new electrical vehicle permits.
The council currently offers three types of residential permits for eligible households within resident parking scheme areas. These include Specific Residential Parking Permits, Annual Open Visitor Permits and Open Visitor Permits.
Specific Residential Parking Permits are issued for vehicles of a person who lives in a particular property. At present, each vehicle owned by a permanent resident can have a permit for a one-off fee of £15, with this valid for the length of time the resident owns the vehicle.
Visitor permits are given to the occupants of a property for their visitors to use when they are on the premises. Each property can have up to two permits. An Open Visitor Permit is free of charge and valid for the entire time a person lives at a property. An Annual Open Visitor Permit currently costs £15 per year, needing to be renewed annually.
However, the cost of these three permits is set to increase to £50 per year, with the decision due to be made by September 6 and the Strategic Director for Growth and Regeneration named as the decision maker. The review of the permit costs comes as the council tries to make the necessary savings to balance its budget this financial year.
According to the council’s website, if approved, this change will be coming in within the next six months and will bring the council almost half a million pounds each year.
Facing a steeper increase are those applying for new Electric Vehicle Permits. The decision has already been made to increase the fees for this kind of permit from nothing to £150 annually. This will allow drivers of electric vehicles to park for free in all of Kirklees’ pay and display areas.
With the decision on residential permits due to be made by a council officer, according to a council report, and only officers named on the “Members/officers involved” section, Cllr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) questioned the role of councillors in the decision-making process and why such an important decision was not being made more publicly.
At a recent meeting, he said: “We see this strapline of ‘councillors at the heart’ and something which has brought that to mind is a decision notice which at the moment is delegated to officers and I’ve had a word with Cllr Ahmed because it comes under his portfolio, something affecting every ward in Kirklees which are annual charges for residential and electric vehicle permits.
“This is a total income on one element of nearly half a million pounds per year so I would’ve hoped, and I’ve asked Cllr Ahmed if we can have this as a decision that cabinet makes and not a decision delegated to officers. We don’t know the cost of the Electric Vehicle Permits but again this is councillors at the heart, something affecting every ward…”
Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration said: “As part of a review of the parking permit scheme, an increase in the cost of residential permits is being considered and a charge for new electric vehicle parking permits has already been introduced.
“Fee increases cover operational costs including administration and production of permits as well as contributing to maintenance costs of signs, lines and effective enforcement of restrictions.
“The introduction of a fee for Electric Vehicle and Hybrid permit holders still presents a big saving on standard parking fees across the year at Council owned car parks so should not deter people from switching to an electric vehicle.
“Review of the parking permit schemes forms part of the wider council considerations in light of the current financial situation.”