Welwyn Hatfield councillors slam station car park price hike

PUBLISHED: 11:39 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:59 26 October 2009

Cllr Andrew Canter at Welwyn North station

Cllr Andrew Canter at Welwyn North station

A RAIL operator's decision to introduce inflation-busting rises in car parking fees at Welwyn North station has been labelled as 'irresponsible'. Daily parking charges at the First Capital Connect (FCC) managed station are to increase from £4.80 to £5.30

Cllr Malcolm Cowan showing the empty spaces at Welwyn North

A RAIL operator's decision to introduce inflation-busting rises in car parking fees at Welwyn North station has been labelled as "irresponsible".

Daily parking charges at the First Capital Connect (FCC) managed station are to increase from £4.80 to £5.30 on Monday.

The price of weekly and monthly tickets will also rise.

The price hikes were criticised by passenger groups last week and now councillors from across the political spectrum have expressed their concern.

From the Tory camp, Welwyn members Andrew Canter, Mandy Perkins, Carl Storer, Steven Markiewicz and Julie Cragg have written to FCC managing director Elaine Holt to protest.

The letter describes the increase as "particularly disappointing, given the parlous state of the economy".

It also blasts FCC as "irresponsible and bordering on anti-social behaviour", with regards to parking problems that already exist near the station.

It reads: "All [the increase] will do is push more people out of the car park and onto the surrounding roads which are already crowded."

The letter asks if any improvements will be made to the car park, and ends by urging Mrs Holt to "immediately reverse the increases, as they are totally unjustified".

Lib Dem borough and county councillor Malcolm Cowan has also spoken to Mrs Holt and told the WHT he would be contacting her again to discuss the situation at Welwyn North.

"The increase is totally unjustified given that the car park is already only about half-full," he said.

"It is residents nearby who are suffering.

"If FCC lowered its charges, it could recapture most of the commuters driven out by high prices and make more money."

A spokesman for FCC said: "The car park has seen investment and last year was awarded the Park Mark accreditation, which is the British Transport Police's seal of approval for high levels of security.

"The car park has also seen a new cycle shelter added, signage improved and relining works."

He added: "Investment will continue.

"The new prices at Welwyn North remain competitive for station parking and unfortunately we can't control people parking outside of the station car park.

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