Park: and get taken for a ride

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NEARLY 4,000 free car parking spaces are set to become pay-and-display at the end of the month.

The 3,872 spaces on North and South Row are due to charged at 30p per hour, while the number of premium spaces, costing £1.20 per hour, are expanding by 981 to 4,853.

The car park outside the John Lewis store will remain free, and the much-maligned multi-storey Theatre car park will become free for six months, until July 31.

However, the price of long-stay parking will increase to £8 per day, in line with the private rail parking operator.

The plans will cost the council around £900,000 to implement, with new signs, markings and machine re-configuration.

However, the changes will rake in more than £2 million per year bringing the total raised from parking to £10.4 million.

Councillor Vanessa McPake, the Cabinet member for Transport, said: “For some time we have had a very confusing number of tariffs relating to parking – we hope this new system will be easier to understand.

“We appreciate that some people will need to adapt to these changes – for example the increase in the premium ‘red’ parking bays.

“But we have made a number of concessions – the price of the popular scratch cards, for example, which are very good value for money, will remain the same.

“We carried out months of consultation on these changes and put a lot of thought into them. Parking charges in Central Milton Keynes have been artificially low for many years, and are still much cheaper than all of our surrounding areas, such as Peterborough and Cambridge.”