Sunday parking still free in outer city car parks

With Sunday now almost as important a trading day as any other, Winchester is following the pattern set by other nearby towns, including Southampton, Salisbury and Chichester. Yellow signs have gone up outside city centre car parks announcing Sunday parking charges for a flat rate of £2 between 10am and 4pm from 6 February. 

But this applies only to car parks within the central one way and pedestrianised areas.  Car parks on the fringe of the centre remain free all day on Sundays.  A short walk into the centre from Chesil Street, Tower Street or Worthy Lane, will allow visitors to enjoy shopping or sightseeing all day free of charge.  The city’s churches and cathedral are also within walking distance of these car parks. All the usual disabled parking concessions remain in the centre. 

Cllr Eleanor Bell, Portfolio Holder for High Quality Environment, said, “We thought very carefully about making this change and advertised the proposal widely before introducing the charges in the central area.  Many of the consultation responses we received focussed on the start time for charging and not on the principle of Sunday charging.  In Southampton, charges start at 12 noon, but after that weekday charges apply, which could cost up to £6 for the rest of the day.  We want to encourage those visiting the markets and stores to stay longer and enjoy all that Winchester has to offer.”

The new pattern of Sunday charging is also designed to discourage people from bringing their cars into the one way system and circling round looking for space.  The benefits in terms of reduced congestion, less traffic noise and cleaner air quality will be monitored closely in the coming year.

Parking charges on weekdays in the city have been held at 2010 prices, whist the first half hour on street will now cost 50p.  A different approach has been adopted in the market towns of Bishops Waltham, New Alresford and Wickham, where small increases in weekday charges will be introduced from the 26 February, but the first half hour and Sunday parking remains free of charge.

The additional revenue collected from Sunday parking and the changes in on street parking will offset the money that must be passed to the Government since the VAT rise to 20% came into force in January. The City Council does not expect to generate any additional revenue from car parks in 2011.