Criticism over hike in St Albans car parking charges

White Hart Tap in St Albans

White Hart Tap in St Albans - Credit: Photo supplied

Car parking tariffs in St Albans city centre have been labelled a joke after local businesses complained about a 300 per cent hike.

Visitors can no longer pay just 60p to park for up to 30 minutes at some city centre car parks, including Keyfield Terrace.

The minimum fee has increased by 367 per cent to £2.80 for up to two hours instead.

Andrew Meredith, co-owner of one of the city’s oldest pubs, White Hart Tap, on Keyfield Terrace, said that he and other businesses were concerned that trade could be affected by changes brought in by St Albans district council on April 1.

And local parents are not amused after they were forced to pay £2.80 at Bricket Road north when dropping off and collecting children at Alban City School.

Andrew said that a barber’s shop near him was annoyed about the fee increase as customers were now having to pay more to get a hair cut.

He added: “Some of our customers just want to pop in for a quick pint and a sandwich and away they go but now they have to pay for a couple of hours.

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“So the car park at Keyfield Terrace is empty most of the time now.”

Andrew said that Sunday trade could also be hit as the council had also started charging to park in the city. Whereas previously it was free, visitors must now pay £1.

He said: “These fees are creeping in and having an impact.”

Andrew warned that those living in the city centre might notice an increase in cars parking on some residential streets as a result, as lower fees were still applicable at certain times.

He added: “The council didn’t talk to us about the changes. I was disappointed there was no consultation.”

St Albans mum Rebecca Rideal asked whether it was an April Fools’ Day joke as the changes were also affecting local parents.

She said: “It’s ridiculous. Some parents have to juggle work commitments while dropping off their children at school.

“It is going to cost about £1,000 to park at Bricket Road to take their children into Alban City School. The changes are ill-conceived.”

Cllr Martin Leach said he had been contacted by parents concerned about the problem.

The council’s portfolio holder for community engagement Cllr Beric Read said it would take time for people to “readjust” to changes, but further tweaking might be needed.

He added: “I’m happy to meet with people where there are issues.”