Parking charges in Keswick will not be increased despite Allerdale Borough Council’s income dropping by “almost £3 million” from all its car and caravan parks because of coronavirus.
That is the assurance councillor Allan Daniels says he has received from the authority, which normally receives nearly £2 million a year from its six busy public car parks in Keswick.
Long stay facilities at Central (334), Lakeside (243), Rawnsley Centre (150), Derwent (pencil museum, 120) and Otley Road (87), plus the short-stay at Bell Close (121), gives Allerdale more than 1,000 pay and display spaces in Keswick.
However, all were closed for much of the March to July period of travel restrictions and business shut down, including Easter and two more bank holiday weekends, with tourists only recently having returned in numbers to the town.
With charges ranging from £3.30 for two hours to £9.80 for 12, that leaves a big hole in the borough council’s finances.
“They have lost almost £3 million from caravan sites and car parks being closed — and I have been reassured by Allerdale’s executive committee that an increase in parking prices will not be taking place,” said Mr Daniels, one of Keswick’s three Allerdale representatives.
He was speaking at last week’s virtual meeting of Keswick Town Council, of which he is also a member.
“It is a huge chunk of money, but I was told there would be absolutely no chance at all of putting the fees up, which I was relieved about.
“That is the first thing that might happen when your budget is shot as has happened with COVID,” added Mr Daniels, who is an independent town councillor and a Conservative on the borough council.
He criticised Allerdale’s system which does not allow people to pay by cash at its car parks in Keswick, unlike the one run by the town council at Crosthwaite Road. Users of Allerdale car parks have to pay by credit card or smart phone.
Overall, Keswick contributes about two-thirds of Allerdale’s total car parking income from across the borough. Although not used regularly by a lot of local people, there was an outcry from local business owners when Allerdale last increased its parking fees because it was seen as a negative impact on attracting visitors.