A charge of £30 per year for first permits in residents’ parking zones will be introduced by Reading Borough Council.
“Without a charge for first permits we will effectively be saying there would be no more [residents’ parking] schemes and the enforcement of existing schemes will be inadequate,” said Tony Page, lead councillor for transport, at the policy committee on 16 January.
He also said that such schemes were popular because they “deliver real benefits to residents” and that the council had a waiting list of requests to set up new ones.
“Setting a charge of £30… for a first permit will anger residents who will want to know why we are charging them so much when a much smaller charge would cover the cost of the scheme,” said councillor Ricky Duveen.
“I’m not opposed to a charge for a first permit in principle,” said councillor Rob White. “The charge will help improve enforcement and the application process and to progress new schemes… and it also means that drivers are covering the costs of permit parking rather than everyone through council tax. Unfortunately the recommendation is to scrap the free discretionary permit [which is] the only mechanism… to offer the service to someone on a very low income.”
Councillor Ed Hopper from the council’s Conservative group said “We are uncomfortable… that teachers will have to pay for discretionary permits because this will add pressure to already stretched school budgets and may have a knock-on effect on teacher recruitment.”
“I would like to put on record my opposition to charging carers for permits,” he added.
“We are taking time to review the position of charity workers and carers,” said councillor Tony Jones. “We will continue a discussion about concessions, [such as] old age pensioners, and see how they’re treated elsewhere.”
Councillor Jones later added that enforcement of residents’ parking zones would be much improved because of the new charges.