DISCOUNTED parking for residents in Scarborough is a step closer.
Proposals for a trial scheme have been unveiled which will see residents benefit from a 10 per cent discount at local authority off-street car parks.
The move could lead to the introduction of a permanent scheme at a cost of up to £11,750.
Scarborough Council’s Car Parking Review Group is recommending a card scheme which will allow residents to top up their cards at machines or at the council office before using it to pay for parking.
Initial purchases on the card will attract a 20 per cent bonus, with a 10 per cent bonus given for every £10 purchase there after.
The group is proposing to make available 2,000 smart cards on a trail basis, and to review the usage and cost later in the year.
Should the initial take up of cards be significant then approval will be sought to increase the number to 4,000.
Cllr Andrew Backhouse, portfolio holder for technical services, said: “We have had this idea for quite a few years as we are aware parking charges across the borough is a bit of a stick in the throat point with residents, certainly in tourist hot spots where they feel they are being targeted.
“We are aware that the level of parking charges currently implemented is at the top end of the scale, and we are also minded of the need to increase footfall.
“We feel this is a way of giving something back to the people of the borough.”
The review group met earlier this month to consider opportunities for residents’ discounts and decided the Park Smart scheme was the most suitable.
John Riby, head of technical services at the council, said; “The Pay One card offers greater flexibility and is rechargeable.
“The card offers the facility to have any value on the card and can be topped up at the machine and used as an e-purse.
“They can be vehicle or person specific and offer an option to make the card valid only in certain car parks or towns.
“In this current difficult financial climate the preferred option represents the least financial risk to parking income and would be the most cost effective to introduce.”
An example of the discount given is on some long stay car parks £50 would be ten 24-hour stays. With the 20 per cent bonus of £10 on the initial with would give 12 24-hour stays, equal to two free days.
It is hoped that the top up facility will also be available on line in the future.
A report to be presented by the group at a council meeting on Wednesday, states any discount offered will have a potential impact for the council on income achieved from off street car parks.
However it is anticipated this will be offset as “users of the cards are likely to stay longer in the car parks and will be encouraged to use car parks more regularly knowing a discount is on offer”.
The council faces a one of purchase cost of £2,450 for the card recharging unit, and up to £9,300 for 6,000 cards.
The move coincides with introduction of 57 new, solar powered parking machines across the town.
However the discount scheme will only be available at car parks where the new machines have been installed, and the discount will only be available when cards are topped up at the Customer First Centre in St Nicholas Street.