North East MPs and a council have clashed after car parking charges have doubled on a Teesside town’s High Street. The car parking charges for Redcar High Street and Station Road have now doubled from £3 for three hours to £6 for three hours after they were re-introduced. Previously, the car parking charges before the TVCA relief fund was granted were £1.
20 for the first hour, £1. 70 for an additional two hours, and £1. 20 for each additional hour.
Now, however, the charges have increased to £1. 60 for one hour, and £2. 20 for each additional hour, making it £6 for three hours.
Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Jacob Young, MP for Redcar and Cleveland, have both condemned the re-introduction of car parking charges in Guisborough and Redcar. Simon Clarke said charge rates in the area are at levels not seen before and cited the £6 charge for three hours parking on Redcar High Street. As part of a heated back and forth, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council’s (RCBC) Councillor Carl Quartermain has accused the duo of “playing political games,” and said free car parking had only been made possible due to Covid funding provided by the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) which stopped in 2023.
Explaining the increases, RCBC said the pre-TVCA funding parking figures do not include inflationary price rises over recent years, and added there are cheaper parking options rather than long stays in short stay parking areas. In response to the MPs’ criticism of the charges, Cllr Quartermain said the council had kept parking free for eight months after the TVCA’s funding stopped – and accused Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen of timing the support to run out following the local elections in May. They added the council rely on car park revenue to pay for services and would have a £235,000 shortfall without these charges.
Mr Clarke, in a statement on social media, said: “Today is a really frustrating day for everyone in Guisborough and in high streets right across Redcar & Cleveland, as new parking charges are introduced by the Council. “Many of these charges are in places where there weren’t charges before. The charge rates are at levels we haven’t seen (like £6 for three hours on Redcar High Street…).
“This is a bad decision for high street businesses, it’s a bad decision for town centre regeneration and it’s the wrong thing to do at a time when the cost of living is still on everyone’s minds. ” Cllr Quartermain said Mr Clarke and Mr Young were “misleading” their social media audiences as part of a re-election strategy. He added residents and visitors are not expected to stay in short stay car parks for over two hours, saying there are 900 long stay space available around town – as well as free parking offers on weekends and bank holidays.
He said: “It is shameful but they are desperate. “The previous Independent administration in Redcar & Cleveland was proposing to put car parking charges up in January 2023. We absolutely opposed that.
“We are continuing what was already in place and while parking was free to the public it was still paid for from the Covid funding via the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Redcar & Cleveland rely on car park revenue to pay for services. “The Covid funding was a much welcome relief, but it was limited.
“They are putting politics before the people and taking the public for fools. ” He added £1 million in funding would support free parking in Redcar and Guisborough for four years, and said the “cash-rich” TVCA could “fund free parking in a heartbeat. ” Mr Clarke said the responsibility for parking charges “lies solely” with RCBC and added decisions on the charges should be made with the community’s best interests in mind.
He said: “It is crucial that these decisions are made with the community’s best interests at heart. “Parking charges not only deter visitors and shoppers but also put our local businesses at a competitive disadvantage, especially when compared to free parking available at out-of-town shopping centres. ” Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “Parking charges hit the pocket of every resident and visitor, it won’t bring in anything like a significant amount of revenue for the council.
“It’s a dreadful decision that will decimate the local economy. And then it’s straight to the blame game. ” Most read: Photos of Darlington toddler Charlie Roberts as murder probe continues Top House in Stanley to reopen after new licensing rules set Eddie Howe will send Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden on loan Grab our digital subscription and stay connected with local happenings.
Click here Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the decision was “terrible” for the High Street, and will lead to job losses and lower footfall in the town. He said: “The responsibility of the council owned car parks sits unsurprisingly with the council. “TVCA-funded free parking was an emergency two-year measure to support businesses during the pandemic.
“I have offered to take over the car parks, as at the moment the council own them, set charges, collect the income and keep the income to spend for themselves. “Sadly, I don’t think they’ll take me up on that offer and we’ll see a decline in our high streets as a result of this awful decision from the Labour run council. ”.