Council says no to parking charge increases

January 12, 2009 12:00 AM

Rochdale's Finance Boss - Councillor Greg CouzensRochdale council is to keep parking charges on its pay and display car parks at the same level for a second year running.

Council officers had proposed an increase in the charges to make up a budget shortfall but elected councillors opted not to up the prices.

The news comes after the Wheatsheaf Centre car park prices went up recently, but the Council has clarified that they do not set the prices of the car parks at either the Wheatsheaf or the Rochdale Exchange shopping centre and that these car parks are privately run by the centres themselves.

Councillor Greg Couzens, cabinet member for finance and highways on Rochdale Council, said: "The Wheatsheaf shopping centre car park is not owned or operated by the council so the increase in charges is not something that's under our control.

"For the second year in a row, the proposed budget for 2009/10 does not include any increases to charges for council car parks. At this difficult time for town centre traders it's important that local people help the local economy by shopping here, so we'd encourage as many people as possible to do all they can to show their support for local retailers."

Councillors backed the proposals not to increase charges at last night's Rochdale Township meeting and the Head of Highways and Engineering at the Council Donald Forrester moved to dispell a common perception that car parking in Oldham and Bury is cheaper than Rochdale and said that parking in Council run parks was also significantly less than in the Wheatsheaf and the Exchange.

Greg Couzens said at the meeting: "If I had a pound for everyone that said that other towns' parking is cheaper than ours I would be a millionaire but I can assure people that our prices are cheaper.

"For the next 12 months things are going to be harder than expected for town centre businesses and we want to protect their interests by keeping parking charges the same. After that things may get easier and we could raise car parking prices in line with other boroughs."