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Car parking prices in Worcester on the verge of being slashed
CAR parking prices in Worcester are on the verge of being dramatically slashed - just in time for a summer holiday bonanza.
Worcester City Council's new Conservative administration is finalising plans to bring prices down to the old pre-April levels in a bid to boost the High Street - and it will be in place by the time the schools break up.
Your Worcester News can reveal how the new leadership, which came to power earlier this month, is working on a "special offer" aimed at restoring the old rates.
The previous prices included £1 after 7pm and just 40p for half-an-hour at selected car parks to encourage short trips into Worcester.
The previous Labour administration scrapped the low rates in the spring before losing office, saying there was little evidence it tempted more people into the city.
Because the new, higher prices were set as part of the 2014/15 budget back in February, legally the new leadership cannot pick it apart until September.
But to get around that in time for the holidays, they are planning to exercise their executive powers by making a "temporary offer" between now and then.
The new rates are expected to be finalised within days, before the council must wait 21 days for the prices to become active.
That means Worcester can expect cheaper parking rates by the end of July.
As well as the old 40p and £1 rates people parking for four hours or more at sites like Copenhagen Street, Cornmarket and Providence Street are also set to benefit as prices there went from £5 to £6 in April.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, city council leader, said: "We don't want to wait until September, we want to maximise the benefit to get it in place by the school holidays and get people back into the city."
Duncan Sharkey, city council managing director, said: "Our standard process is to look at car parking once a year - the budget was agreed back in February and there is a constitutional issue with us starting to unpick things agreed back then.
"But there is a mechanism to look at a temporary promotion, where an executive decision could be made now, before we can then look to put in place longer term plans (at the September full council meeting).
"That's the route we're looking at right now."
Before coming to power the Conservatives made a pledge to restore the old car parking rates if they got back into office.