CASH-STRAPPED shoppers and tourists heading for the city face a hike in car park charges.
Parking boss Cllr Lynn Riley (Con) has signed off the increases which apply to the Little Roodee, Watergate, Garden Lane and Brook Street bays.
Conservatives previously criticised the former Chester City Council for using car park charges as a cash cow with inflation busting increases year after year.
The increases are the first to be introduced by the new council.
The average rise of 10% comes with incentives for regular users.
On the popular Little Roodee car park the minimum charge jumps from £3 to £4 but the over six hour cost drops 10p from £5.90 to £5.80.
The Watergate car park on New Crane Street loses its £3 ticket for up to two hours and also has a minimum of £4 balanced by a drop in the maximum charge from £7.80 to £5.80 for over six hours.
Garden Lane sees a 20p increase in the £1 price for staying up to an hour with over six hours again costing £5.80, an increase of 90p.
An hour on Brook Street is up 30p to £1.80 with the previous maximum over three hours charge of £4 becoming £5.80 for over six hours. There is a new three to six hour charge of £5.
Season passes will be offered on a six-month and annual basis for either seven days parking or Monday to Friday for drivers who do not require weekend stays.
These will cost £1,189 a year for a seven-day pass, a discount of almost 40%.
Cllr Riley believes the decision will help to create ‘modern and cost-effective’ car parking.
It will also help to ‘advance the city as a better place in which to live, work and enjoy’.
The move follows a review of parking in the city with prices in the outer car parks seeing a phased average increase to bring Chester into line with similar places.
It is argued the ‘more attractive’ charges in the Watergate car park will allow it to compete with nearby private sector car parks and possibly attract new customers.
The discounted season pass rates are set at a level to ensure the council-owned outer car parks are at least as competitive, or more so, than the privately-owned outer car parks.
Cllr Riley believes it is ‘unlikely’ the changes will hit any particular groups of customers.
They come into effect today Thursday, November 22.
Charges in other council run car parks remain unchanged as does ‘free after three’.