'We made a good offer for the site' says council after Hartlepool parking price rise

A council has reacted to a hike in prices at a private car park by urging its bosses “to consider the negative impact the increase will have on businesses in the area”.

Thursday, 9th June 2022, 5:00 pm

Charges at Navigation Point have increased and the free period has been reduced to 15 minutes – with cashless machines installed on the site on Tuesday, June 7.

Northwest Parking Management, which runs the car park, has said tariffs had not been increased in more than four years and that the free parking period could have been scrapped completely.

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Car parking charges at Hartlepool Marina went up earlier this week.

Harbour View fish and chip shop tenant Lee Pennick said: “I’ve been here since August last year. Business has been difficult, especially in the winter months, especially because of the parking charges.

"They’ve reduced now your free 30 minutes to 15.

"Obviously, we have delivery drivers who are here a lot longer than that, so I don’t know what’s going to happen in general.”

Following the latest increase, there had been criticism that Hartlepool Borough Council had not done enough to help by buying the car park.

A council spokesperson said: “We made an offer to buy the Navigation Point car park in 2019 after being approached by concerned businesses who said charges were putting off visitors and harming trade.

“Our sole motivation in making an offer to purchase the car park was to protect the businesses in the area and the vital jobs that they support.

“We made a good offer for the site and we were very disappointed that the owners decided not to proceed with the sale.

“Unfortunately, with the site being in private ownership, parking charges are at the discretion of the owner.

“However, we would urge them to consider the negative impact the increase will have on businesses in the area.”

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Business owners have said they found out about the changes after they saw signs go up on Tuesday.

People working at the Marina have also described witnessing motorists drive away after seeing the new sign and visitors struggling to pay at the new machines.

Meanwhile, workers whose shifts last longer than five hours and therefore need to get a 24-hour ticket, have told the Mail they now face paying an average of more than £2,000 per year.

It comes after 24 hour charges were increased from £6 to £8.

Northwest Parking Management, which runs the car park, said in its statement: “The tariff on Hartlepool Marina car park has not been increased in over four years.

“The ‘Under 30 minutes free’ has been reduced to ‘Under 15 minutes free’.

"This could have been reduced to ‘0 minutes free’ as the British Parking Association only requires a 10-minute grace period within their Code of Practice.”

It added that “the banking system’s push for a cashless payment system post Covid” was also a factor in the new machines.