THE COST of nipping to the shops is going up in Petersfield and Alton as parking charges are set to rise.

Not just by a few pennies either – as an average of 26.7 per cent is the increase that East Hampshire District Council looks set to rubber-stamp within the next month.

The inflation-busting rise will be considered by a committee next Thursday before going to East Hampshire District Council cabinet members the following week.

Details for the revised prices at the district’s council-run car parks in Alton and Petersfield were due to be released yesterday (Wednesday), before the Herald and Post went to press.

But the price of a one-hour £1 ticket will rise to £1.30 if the proposals are approved by cabinet members on the 16th.

It’s not just parking charges which are going up – as the cost of using the council’s cemeteries, legal services and pre-application planning advice is also going to rise.

The news is unlikely to be welcomed by motorists and traders, especially as there have been calls for free 30-minute parking to encourage business.

Council leader Richard Millard says putting up the charges has been a “tough call” and understands the move will “disappoint some people”.

But he insists it’s the “right thing to do” both for EHDC’s financial security and the district’s residents, with many authorities declaring or teetering on bankruptcy.

The council has also pointed out it’s the first increase in parking charges for six years, with the hike mirroring the rise in inflation since 2017.

Generic money shot
Raising car parking charges will improve the council's revenue in difficult times (Suzy Hazelwood)

“There has been no increase to parking charges since 2017, and following a review, we feel the time has come,” said Cllr Tony Costigan, EHDC’s portfolio holder for property.

“We have to make difficult choices to ensure that we can continue to provide important services and invest in projects to help those who most need it in the district.

“We need to make some tough decisions and this is one of them.”

Cllr Charles Louisson, EHDC’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “We are tackling the financial issues we face head-on by focusing on our long-term strategic plan – and this means we have to make these kinds of decisions now.”