Car parking charges in Durham City are set to be introduced or increased.

Visitors using on and off-street parking will pay more, the ‘free after 2pm’ off-street parking initiative will be scrapped, and a Sunday Park and Ride Service will be run if plans are approved. 

The proposed changes are part of a Durham County Council car parking review, which has been carried out as the local authority needs to make around £16 million in savings in the next two years to balance its budget, £11 million more than first expected. 

Prices for on-street parking are due to rise from 20p-80p a half hour to 30p-90p. 

All other on-street bays, such as loading, disabled parking, permit parking, taxi parking, and any limited waiting restrictions, would be updated so they operate to the same rules.

Dedicated on-street blue badge bays will remain free. On-street pay and display bays and time limited bays will remain free and without time limits for blue badge holders.

For off-street parking, charges at all council-owned car parks are set to rise. Visitors could soon pay up to 20p more per hour at The Sands, Providence Row and Sidegate. A new charge for parking on Sundays is also proposed. 

Park and Ride services at Belmont and Sniperley could also extend to run on Sundays, with some concessionary fares increasing by up to 30p. 

Elsewhere in County Durham, visitors to coastal communities could soon pay new £3 per day or £1 per hour parking charges.

The proposed changes would start on April 1 2024. 

Council officials say the charges would ensure the management and maintenance of car parking facilities generates enough income to pay for itself.

It is also hoped that the proposals may encourage more people to take up sustainable travel methods.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, the council’s cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “What we are proposing would bring many benefits to communities, the wider economy and the environment.

“Charges are widely used to control parking availability and support the commercial viability of town centres and attractions by increasing turnover of spaces in areas where there is high demand.

“They improve parking availability for residents and visitors, and in turn, increase the number of people coming into communities and spending money.

“What we are proposing would also address some of the issues that residents in coastal communities in particular raise with us, such as that of badly parked vehicles obstructing access.

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“Our plans would also help lower emissions and improve local air quality, by reducing the need for drivers to circulate around car parks multiple times until they find a space, or queue for one to become vacant.

“We are pleased to be proposing increased park and ride access to Durham which again is aimed at lowering emissions by reducing traffic coming into the city. Our aim is that by providing park and ride journeys at a lower price than parking charges, we would be benefiting the environment by reducing traffic and lowering emissions.

Residents can have their say on the proposals here. The closing date is 5pm on November 13.