By David Spereall, local democracy reporter
New parking charges at parks and attractions across Leeds – including Kirkstall Abbey – are likely to start at 40p-an-hour, the city council has revealed.
The cash-strapped local authority revealed in December it was planning to introduce fees at some green spaces in the city to balance its books.
Golden Acre Park in Bramhope, Kirkstall Abbey, Middleton Park, Otley Chevin Park, Roundhay Park and Temple Newsam are among the sites where free parking for the city’s residents is set to end.
Visitors at 24 other public spaces around Leeds will also be told to pay for using their cars.
Further details of the plan, which is likely to be signed off in February as part of the council’s new budget, have now been outlined.
Venues where people park for relatively short periods of time are likely to see relatively “modest” charges introduced.
Season tickets could also be introduced at parks where people go several times a month.
Speaking at a scrutiny meeting on Thursday, senior council officer James Rogers said the scheme would be rolled out gradually over the course of the next year.
Mr Rogers, who is the service director for housing, communities and environment, added: “In terms of the charges, what we’re proposing is modest charges, recognising most people will use these car parks for one or two hours a day.
“40p-an-hour is what we’re currently proposing as part of the consulation process.
“We might just need different arrangements where some of these car parks are used for maybe longer stay parking, where we’re happy to encourage that.
“We’ll put the price in according to the appropirateness of each car park. But generally it will be 40p-an-hour.”
The council says blue badge holders will be exempt from the charges and that the money will help fund maintenance of the car parks themselves.
It also insists the charges will be enforced, despite admitting at the end of last year it was grappling with a parking warden shortage.
The system is also likely to be cash-less, with drivers asked to pay through a phone app.
Conservative councillor for Adel and Wharfedale, Barry Anderson asked: “For those people who are regular users – for example in my ward, Golden Acre Park is used by a lot of people who walk their dogs there every single day – will there be season tickets where you can pay a one-off (fee)?
“If you did that it would probably improve the cash flow for the council because you’d get the money up front?
“Have you thought of those alternatives?”
Mr Rogers replied: “We will include season ticket options where we consider those to be an appropriate and useful addition, which I’d have thought would be at most of the car parks.”