At the Cabinet meeting on 28 January 2020, a number of changes to permit parking schemes in Surrey were agreed. Amongst these was an increase in the fees payable for residents' parking permits and changes to the provision of residents' visitor parking permits.
As part of the legal process to make the necessary amendments to the relevant traffic orders, we have to formally advertise our intention to make the changes, which we are doing by way of notices, that are being published in local newspapers across the county during the week beginning 21 March. The changes that we are proposing to make are as follows:
- An increase in the cost of the first permit issued to a household to £80
- An increase in the cost of a second permit issued to the household to £100
- An increase in the cost of any more permits issued to the household to £130
- An annual increase for all residents' permits of £4 every two years from April 2024 to April 2028
- The introduction of a child care permit in all permit schemes, which will allow people that provide regular care for the children of residents to park in the permit spaces during the hours of operation. These permits will be available at the same rate as residents' permits and the cost will therefore depend on the number of permits that have already been issued to the household who are applying
- An increase in the cost of daily resident visitor permits to £3 where considered appropriate (eg busier town centres) but remaining at £2 elsewhere, and an increase in the number that a household can apply for in a year to 150
- The introduction of new 2-hour visitor permits, costing £1, with a maximum allowance of 250 per household per year
- The removal of the charge for Carers' permits (currently £10) for the use of carers visiting housebound residents
Why we want to make the changes
Residents parking schemes are normally introduced where there is local support and a real demand on parking. Often they are located near to town centres, or areas where commuters park. Such a scheme effectively reserves part of the public highway for the use of residents during the hours it is in operation. In order to be part of a scheme a resident has to buy a permit and display it in their vehicle.
In order to ensure they work effectively, residents parking schemes are enforced by the county council through civil parking enforcement (CPE).
The fees for residents' and visitors' permit were last reviewed and standardised across the county in 2011 and there have been no increases since then. At that time the fee for residents' permits was set at a level to recover administration costs, but it does not now fully recover the true administration, maintenance and enforcement costs of these schemes. It is a recognised principle that the costs of a permit parking scheme should be borne by those that derive a benefit from it and should not be subsidised by the general taxpayer.
The cost breakdown for a permit in a typical scheme of say 50 properties would be:
- Setting up permit scheme and ongoing administration £25 (about 30 minutes officer time per application)
- Enforcement £45 (approximately 1.5 hours per week of civil enforcement officer time)
- Repayment of implementation costs and ongoing maintenance £10
This gives a total of £80 per permit.
The charge for subsequent permits is proposed to be higher to encourage fewer multi permit applications from a single household (while allowing for this eventuality), and to discourage excessive on street parking (and encourage off street parking). Also to encourage less reliance on cars and more use of alternative, more sustainable means of transport.
Many residents rely on full time assistance to help with child care, which can sometimes be difficult to accommodate within the constraints of our current permit scheme rules. We are therefore proposing to introduce child care permits in all permit schemes in order to make it easier for those providing child care to be able to park. As mentioned above, the fee for these permits will depend on the number of residents' permits issued to the household.
In order to allow residents to have more visitors, we propose to increase the limit on the number of daily visitors' permits issued to a household each year to 150.
In order to reduce the cost to residents for short-term visits, we propose to introduce 2-hour visitors permits at a cost of £1 each. Each household will be allowed to apply for up to 250 of these each year.
There will be no change to the administrative fee of £15, charged for the alteration to or replacement of a permit, and residents will still be able to obtain a refund should they no longer need their permit.
Subject to the Traffic Regulation Orders being amended, the revised charges will be applicable from when residents next renew their permits.
The cost of processing the advertisement of the council's intention to make changes to fees for permit parking schemes is significant and therefore it is not financially realistic to carry out the exercise on a regular short-term basis. Therefore, in order to ensure that the residents permit charge is maintained roughly in line with inflation for the next few years, the fees for permits will be increased by £4 every 2 years, starting in April 2024 and continuing until April 2028.
What happens next
Following publication of the notices stating our intention to make the changes to the permit schemes, there was a period during which people could let us have their views about them. This period ended on Friday 13 May and we are now analysing and collating all the feedback that we received. When we have finished doing this, the Head of Highways and Transport will consider all the comments received, and, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways, will make the final decisions about whether any of the changes will go ahead.