Elmbridge’s Conservative-led council is planning to raise parking prices across the borough. We and our other Residents Association colleagues have made our discontent known to Cllrs Simon Waugh, David Archer and Tim Oliver – we have had no response from them so far.

Chris Sadler, Elmbridge/Walton Central Councillor & Shadow Portfolio Holder for Resources has done an excellent job in looking into the detail of the proposed charges. Here are his findings for Walton – you should expect them to roughly the same for Esher: 

“Elmbridge Borough Council’s Conservative administration is proposing very significant increases in charges for the council’s off-street car parks, targeting in particular those who stay longer than two hours, and season ticket holders. By way of example, an annual season ticket for any of the Council car parks in Walton Town Centre, currently priced at £1,090, will increase to £1,464 – a rise of almost 25%, effective January 2020. The cost of an annual season ticket at any of the station car parks in Elmbridge will increase from £1,417 now to £1,713.60 an increase of over 20%. 

On the day car park charges will also be increased – 3 and 4 hour periods by 20% and long stay full day ticket from £6.50 to £9.50 (46%) from January 1st.In addition car park charging hours are proposed to be increased starting one hour earlier and continuing until one hour later. This will have significant consequences. Commuters arriving home between 6 pm and 7 pm will now be in competition with those arriving to park for an evening in Walton. Anyone who parks free in a car park overnight will now need to be up and out before 8 am. The Conservatives are also considering charging for Sunday parking. T

The overall increase in net income from all the various measures amounts to almost £300,000 in the first year of the 3 year programme, which equates to almost 10 % of this year’s total income. 

We are strongly opposed to these proposals. They come after six consecutive years of significant increases, which have seen the cost of an annual season ticket for a station car park rise from £822 to £1417 – an increase of 72%. Over the same period, the cost of an annual season ticket in our Town Centre car parks has risen from £610 to £1090, an increase of 78%. 

These increases will hit town centre workers, shoppers and commuters hard. The result will be even more drivers looking to park for free in our residential roads over a longer day, making it yet more difficult for  residents to find a parking space anywhere near where they live, as well as increasing congestion. Other drivers, especially at the station car parks, may well choose to switch to alternative car parks, which offer cheaper rates at the cost of short walk. Such changes are likely to actually reduce the income from these car parks, as has happened before.

Given the cuts in Government funding for local authorities such as Elmbridge, a freeze on car parking charges is probably not a realistic option. However, we will fight these excessive price increases. We will insist that there is a period of consultation leading to a more acceptable set of increases that align better with current rates of inflation.