The Conservative Party's parliamentary spokesperson for St Albans has described the council's decision to implement a new parking charge as "really quite shocking".

A £1 charge is now being introduced for two hours parking at Westminster Lodge in St Albans, and Harpenden Leisure Centre.


Previously, two hours of free parking had been available at the sites.

This offer will remain available for leisure centre members.

The Conservative Party's Clare De Silva said: “Residents from across St Albans have told me of their concerns around increased parking charges and the installation of more app-based parking meters.

"For many people locally, the two hours of free parking currently available at Westminster Lodge is a real lifeline.

Herts Advertiser: The charge will apply at Harpenden Leisure Centre and Westminster Lodge.The charge will apply at Harpenden Leisure Centre and Westminster Lodge. (Image: Google Maps / Canva)

"Parents taking their children to the leisure centre, shoppers visiting the city centre and walkers enjoying the park will all lose out under the proposed scheme.

"For pubs and restaurants, new evening parking fees will undoubtably have a negative impact on their businesses.

"It is really quite shocking that the Lib Dems are disregarding the needs of businesses at the heart of our community in this way.

"Local people have told me that they feel hugely let down by the district council at the moment.

"I am calling on the council leader therefore to reconsider his plans to hike parking fees in St Albans and to put people and businesses first.

"Not only will residents suffer under the proposed scheme, but local businesses which are just trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic will also take a hit as customers are put off from visiting the city centre."

The Liberal Democrat leader of St Albans City and District Council, Cllr Chris White, spoke of the reasons behind the parking charge.

He said: "Liberal Democrats value participation in sport and leisure activities and our aim is to ensure that the district council can continue to provide these services for the community, as well as others enjoyed by so many such as playgrounds and parks and museums.

"As a council we are required by law to produce a balanced budget each year, and it’s an unavoidable fact that our car parks need maintenance, cleaning, and lighting etc – which costs money.

"The provision of free car parking by local authorities is not common, nor is it aligned with the need to tackle the climate emergency by encouraging active travel.

"We believe the new parking strategy will help us to ensure that council services can be maintained going forward, especially in the current economic climate, as well as help to foster more sustainable travel."