ON-STREET parking charges could soon be coming to Hereford city centre.

Herefordshire Council is going out to consultation on a plan for 22 kerbside parking meters within the city’s historic core.

The Hereford Times has learned that the consultation on the £350,000 scheme – potentially worth up to £295,000 a year to the council – was signed off at cabinet level this week.

Also proposed is an overall increase in off-street parking charges across the county – effective from October and expected to raise an additional £1 million a year for the local authority.

Confirming both proposals, the council stated: “Herefordshire Council does not currently charge for any onstreet parking provision. As part of the council’s budget consultation, we will be consulting on the introduction of on-street parking charges and an increase in off-street parking charges.”

John Jones, chairman of Hereford Business Improvement District (BID) – a project aiming to improve trading and footfall in the city – warned of an impending “PR disaster” for the city centre if the proposal wasn’t properly implemented.

“On-street parking charges are not necessarily a bad thing, but getting it right means encouraging confidence that parking spaces can be found,” he said “Get it wrong and there is the potential for a PR disaster for the city.”

The estimated cost of implementing the proposed scheme is £350,000 which would be funded through the council’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) grant over two financial years.

Annual revenue projections range from £242,000 to £295,000 with an annual operating cost of £24,000.

The LTP indicates that on-street charges will be considered for introduction after 2014/15.

Any surplus revenues resulting from on-street charges would be targeted towards transport and access improvements and services county-wide.

A study has identified 228 on-street spaces with high turnover rates in Broad Street and St Owen Street and “excess demand” in Castle Street associated with the mix of residents parking, shoppers and Hereford Cathedral School.

The peak demand occupancy rate is around 80 per cent – or around 200 vehicles – between 10.30am and 11am and 3pm-3.30pm.

A related study envisaged charges as assisting with managing demand for car access into the central city area, reducing circulating traffic.

Any future on-street scheme is expected to operate at the same times as offstreet arrangements, running from 8am-10pm from Monday through to Sunday.

Proposed is a simple tariff range of 20p for the first 30 minutes, £1.50 for an hour and £3 for two hours. However, those looking to park in Broad Street, St Owen Street, Aubrey Street, Harrison Street, Bridge Street, East Street, Gaol Street, Mill Street, King Street and St John Street may see parking times limited to one hour, with no return within two hours.

Meanwhile, motorists finding spaces in Cantilupe Street, Castle Street and St Ethelbert Street would be allowed to park for two hours, with no return within four hours.

There is also a proposal for Castle Street to have dedicated parking bays for residents.

A general increase in off-street parking charges county-wide is proposed from October 1.

Any increases in the market towns will be subject to consultation with town councils.

Merton Meadow is projected to see its all-day £3 fee for cars rise to £5. Meanwhile, most proposed increases add between 20p and 40p on the hourly rate.

The council’s off-street parking income in 2014/15 was £3,506,443.

Income from the proposed tariff changes is projected to be £4,505,225 a year.