PARKING charges are changing in Herefordshire today, and the council says it will make it "easier than ever" to know where to park.

The roads chief defended the council's decision to put prices up, with on-street parking in Hereford rising from £1 for one hour to £2.

Other rises at city centre car parks include Bath Street, the bus station, Garrick House and Union Walk rising from 20p for one hour, 60p for two and three hours, and £1 for up to four hours on Mondays to Saturdays.

On the same day for Gaol Street, Maylord Orchards and West Street, prices will rise by 30p for one hour, 60p for two hours, 80p for three hours and 40p for up to four hours.

Herefordshire Council said the new structure, which divides the price of parking into bands relative to proximity to the city centre, gives drivers the option to balance spending less on parking with a short walk.

It added it also ensures there are plenty of spaces available in the centre for short term users.

As part of the changes, parking is free in Hereford after 8pm every day.

Hereford Times:

Hereford Times:

Prices have been frozen at Merton Meadow in Hereford which the council said is its "largest car park out of the town centre", while prices at St Martins (swimming pool) have been reduced from £1.20 to £1.00 per hour.

Councillor John Harrington, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said parking charges have not been increased since 2016, and he appreciated that bringing in rises is always a hot topic but they are increases needed for a variety of reasons.

"Effectively managing the demand for parking spaces allows us to ensure the turnover of spaces to help with availability, reduce congestion and improve air quality," he said.

"We want our historic city and town centres to be clean, vibrant and busy centres where people can meet, shop, eat and work.

“We want people who come to shop or use our hospitality venues to be able to park for longer at a better price just outside the city centre – like the swimming baths – walking into town with time to dwell and spend well locally.

"Those that want to come right into the city centre, where spaces are much more in demand, will pay a little extra. Motorists with disabilities will still have spaces reserved and the right to park in any parking space in the city centre for free."

Coun Harrington said the council had listened to key stakeholders around the county and considered the revised parking structure "very carefully" to try and attain a balance that encourages more active travel without deterring visitors.

"We really want people who come to shop or enjoy local hospitality to consider staying for longer by parking in one of our car parks that are a short walk from the centre so they don’t have to rush their day or evening out," he said.

“The new banding structure means that parking slightly further from the city or town centre saves a bit of money on the price of parking while increasing footfall which supports local businesses.

"It also keeps spaces available in the centre of town for those who only need a short stay.”

Funds generated from parking charges are used to maintain local car parks, and any surplus funds provide vital contributions to other important services for local people, including school transport and public transport.