cost of parking brighton

THE HIDDEN IMPACT OF PARKING CHARGES ON THE COST OF LIVING CRISIS

By Arya Alizada 

It is no secret that the cost-of-living crisis in the UK has made it financially difficult for people, especially with Brighton & Hove being one of Britain’s most expensive cities. Food banks and relief organisations are spending a whopping £15,800 weekly to stock up on supplies. Vanessa O’Shea, a team manager at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership (BHFP) recently stated that: “Food poverty in Brighton is becoming the new normal and that is simply unacceptable. Residents who are from low-income households, the elderly or those who have a disability are statistically more likely to struggle as inflation continues to loom. For many who’ve already been dealing with money problems, this is likely to worsen their living conditions. We recently heard about a local pensioner called Jill, who said her sons do not know she freezes at home, due to her inability to deal with soaring energy prices.

A recent rise in the price of car parking in the city has become another concern for many people. These are currently expected to increase from £1.40 to £5.60, a hike of almost four times the pre-crisis rate. As a result of this, a lot of residents and visitors to Brighton are expressing frustration with one more assault on their wallets. I spoke to several locals, to find out how they feel about these unexpected increases.  

There’s one opinion suggesting the new charges will discourage tourists, and further push the idea that Brighton & Hove is an expensive place to visit. The areas around the city’s parks, attractions and the seafront seem among the worst-affected.  Which isn’t good news for the local business which heavily relies upon a large influx of people heading to the coast. 

University students are also among those who will find themselves struggling with these new prices. A substantial amount of the money they receive from Student Finance England goes towards rent, food, energy bills and personal expenditure. Not everyone can balance a part-time job during their studies, but those who do may well find themselves struggling financially.

I asked Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the MP for Brighton Kemptown, what he thought about the new plan to increase parking charges. ‘’I think it is a reasonable decision because there are many benefits to this plan, however I understand that individuals who struggle financially may not agree or be happy with this decision’’. 

The Council have decided to increase parking charges because they believe that this will make parking simpler. It will also improve carbon neutrality and make parking more accessible for residents. A new plan is also being created to improve options for people who are digitally excluded including keeping physical options where possible, a ‘monthly payment’ model will allow customers to spread the cost of parking permits over monthly payments. Virtual permits will also be issued instead of using paper, and automated address verification will make things easier. 

There’s potential for these increased charges to further feed the cost-of-living crisis. To combat this, Councillor Gary Wilkinson has unveiled a seven-step plan to tackle the impact, which include a potential raising of childcare funds, in a recent interview with The Argus.  As the rise of parking tickets will also be affecting those who have residential permits, another solution might be the council reevaluating how they can help locals manage payments. 

I asked Sarah Parson how she felt about the rise. “I’m really unhappy and frustrated about the sudden increase,” she told me. “It’s unfair and I don’t think the council is taking into consideration that a significant proportion of the population who are considered to be part of the vulnerable groups in society will struggle immensely.” The most impacted group could be those living in Low-Income Households, which have a combined income of under £20,000. Those who depend on having access to a car, will inevitably bear further financial burden with the increases.

While some may not agree that the hikes in parking charges across Brighton is a good idea, it will provide easily accessible parking, alongside some environmental benefits. Is this the new future of parking for the city, or just a way to raise extra revenue from those who depend upon their cars? 

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.