Daventry District Council (DDC) has dropped secret plans to introduce car parking charges in the town centre.
The revelation came in the council’s capital and revenue budget and medium term financial plan which will be discussed at DDC’s strategy group tonight (Thursday).
The report says income expectations of £250,000 per year from parking charges have been cut from the council’s financial plan.
In 2010 council leader Cllr Chris Millar said charges were something that would only be introduced when there were better facilities in the town centre.
The charges appear to have been included in the agreement signed by the council and developers Henry Boot – a document not in the public domain. However, at a meeting held behind closed doors in June the council agreed with Henry Boot to drop proposed car parking charges.
Without the change, charges could have been introduced when town sites one and five were developed. This includes the Mulbery Place shopping and cinema complex on the library car park, and the supermarket on the outdoor pool car park.
DDC’s chief executive Ian Vincent said: “The council always takes a prudent approach to its finances, which includes factoring in the possibility of potential future income from its developments, alongside its expenditure.
“The medium term financial plan included initial projections should car parking charges have been introduced on sites one and five; however these have now been removed as the projects have been brought forward and shown no requirement for such charges.”
Many readers of the Daventry Express reacted angrily on Facebook to the possibility of car parking charges.
Jacqueline Michelow from Michelow’s Treasures in Sheaf Street said: “This would have a massive impact on all small businesses who rely on the free parking bringing customers to Daventry.”
Katie Paine said: “t would put the final nail in the coffin for local trades in the town. I wouldn’t pay to park in Daventry town centre. ”
Julie Turner added: “We hear from customers all the time that free parking is a primary motivation for people shopping in Daventry, so I think it would be a death blow to town centre shopping.”