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Cambridge City Council

Changes to parking charges proposed to help tackle congestion, improve air quality and boost evening economy

24 October 2022

THE COST of parking at some of Cambridge City Council’s car parks could change from next April for the first time in four years.

The proposals are part of the council’s strategy to reduce congestion, improve air quality and produce lower carbon emissions. The overall net effect of the parking proposals would see charges rising, below the underlying rate of inflation, from April 2023.

Under the proposals, parking between the hours of 6pm and 8am from Mondays to Saturdays and from 6pm on Saturdays to 10am on Sundays will be free at all the multi-storey car parks and four pay and display car parks.  

The car parks to be included in the proposed scheme are:

  • Grafton East multi-storey
  • Grafton West multi-storey
  • Grand Arcade multi-storey
  • Queen Anne Terrace multi-storey
  • Adam & Eve pay & display 
  • Castle Hill pay & display
  • Gwydir Street pay & display
  • Riverside pay & display

It is hoped that this will provide a boost for the city’s night-time economy, whilst allowing owners of electric vehicles to access electric charging points in council car parks without having to pay for parking. 

The council’s partnership with Connected Kerb has already seen electric vehicle charging infrastructure installed in some of the surface car parks. This provision will increase to 177 new charging points across council car parks by the end of 2023, with plans to increase this to over 600 charging points over the next eight years.

To encourage drivers to use alternative means of transport such as Park and Ride rather than using their vehicle to come into the city centre, it is proposed that daytime parking rates at council-owned car parks will rise by an average of 9%, after remaining frozen since 2019.

The council is consulting local businesses, employers, residents, car park users and other interested parties on these proposals for its off-street parking policy for 2023-24.

Residents can register on the council’s engagement platform, view the full parking charge proposals and comment on them during the consultation period which runs from 24 October to 14 November.

Comments received on the proposals will be considered by Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning and Infrastructure before any changes are introduced next year.

Cllr Thornburrow said: “We believe these proposals will offer a fair pricing structure, while helping to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the city.

“We remain committed to providing customers with an excellent service at our car parks, but we have to balance this with longer term considerations for tackling congestion and air quality and encouraging more people to use electric vehicles or alternatives to private cars.”