Nottingham residents face having to pay for second and third parking permits as the city council seeks the “least-worst ways” to balance its budget.
The authority is keeping the first permit free of charge (either a residential or visitor permit), but wants households in relevant areas to be charged £35 for a second permit and £50 for a third permit.
The plans come as the council looks to draw up a balanced budget while under the watch of a Government-appointed improvement board.
Cllr Neghat Khan (Lab), representing Dales ward, says there are roughly 800 streets across Nottingham which are subject to parking permit schemes and more than 45,000 permits are currently in circulation.
A consultation was launched in July, lasting through to September and councillors approved the proposals in principle during an Executive Board meeting on Tuesday (November 22).
Permit schemes cost the council in excess of £500,000 every year to run and under the proposals the Labour-run authority would generate more than £400,000 to meet administration costs.
Residents are “not happy” and opposition councillors condemned the plans.
Cllr Kevin Clarke (Ind), for Clifton East, said: “I would just like for us, really, to appreciate why these problems have occurred within parking.
“The way I see it, and the way many residents see it, is the council mis-sold a lot of the responsibility for it, the parking levy, the amount of students we have now in my ward particularly and the tram.
“They have all added to these parking problems and now we are expected to let the residents incur these extra charges.”
Cllr Andrew Rule (Con), who represents Clifton West, agreed with Cllr Clarke and said one of the “historical justifications” for Nottingham City Council having the second-highest council tax in the country, for band D properties, was because permits and bulky waste collections had been provided for free.
He says the latter is now subject to charges and so will permits in the future.
“At the time of the next election I will have been a Cllr for eight years and I cannot overstate how significant parking charges have been to the residents of the east over that time, and how much they are due to external factors and not of residents’ causing,” Cllr Rule said.
“I understand part of the revenue initially from the workplace parking levy when it was first introduced was earmarked for funding schemes to combat displacement, sadly Clifton never received any of this and it was left to ward cllrs to resolve.”
Responding to the council tax concerns, Cllr Adele Williams (Lab), the portfolio holder for finance, argued 80 per cent of homes in Nottingham are on the lowest bands (A and B).
The average bill she says is “the 45th lowest in the country” as a result.
Cllr David Mellen (Lab), the leader of the council, said: “Well clearly people don’t want to pay more money than they need to but our regime compared to nearly every other authority in the country has been very generous to residents.
“As Cllr Khan has said we retain a free permit for most people, most people in our city have either not got a car or only one and obviously there will be, as Neghat says, some administrative costs already that we are subsidising these permits for.
“As for the tram, the tram has been contributed for by the Workplace Parking Levy and your community in Clifton have benefited from the tram more than many communities.”
Linda Woodings (Lab), who represents Basford, added: “We don’t particularly want to introduce charges for this but we have to balance our budget at the end of every year, so we are trying to look for the least-worst ways to balance our budget.
“I hope people accept we are where we are, as are other local authorities in the country.”