PARKING charges could be reduced in a major victory for campaigners.
Havant Borough Council is considering scrapping the blanket fee of £1 for an hour’s parking at most of its town centre car parks.
The 30p hike in February caused massive opposition, with more than 7,000 people signing petitions in Emsworth and Hayling.
The campaign sparked a review which is set to be discussed at the council’s scrutiny board meeting next Tuesday.
A report indicates that usage has almost halved in some car parks.
The report says income for this financial year is predicted to be £168,000 under budget – from just over £1m to £847,000.
Officers have recommended councillors vote to reduce charges to 80p for an hour at Hayling Island, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Leigh Park and Emsworth. Wellington Way, Waterlooville, and South Street, Emsworth would be reduced to 90p.
Options are being considered for 30-minute stays of 50p and offering drivers more for their money, such as £1 for two hours at Town End House in Havant. However, most car parks in Havant would stick with the £1-an-hour charge.
Colin Telford, from The Hayling Island Bookshop, said: ‘It’s pleasing to hear that they have responded to our recommendations that each car park in the borough is treated differently. It’s a positive step.’
Giles Babb, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, said: ‘It’s good to see they are forward-thinking about it.’
Cllr Gerald Shimbart, who chairs the scrutiny board, said no final decisions have been made.
He said: ‘It’s brought a lot of unhappiness and some complaints. We are trying to rectify that. Obviously with the financial situation at the council we cannot afford to cut the income for the council otherwise people are going to have to pay more for other things.’
He said the aim was to give ‘better value’ to customers.