THATCHAM commuters and residents could be charged to park near the station as West Berkshire Council seeks to limit the damage from its second round of cuts.
In an effort to save £8m from next year’s budget, West Berkshire Council is proposing to cut more services while raising council tax and car parking prices.
Parking charges in Thatcham are to rise, but the biggest change is a proposal to introduce on-street parking charges in roads near Thatcham Station.
Pay-by-phone charges of £1 for up to four hours and £1.50 for over four hours could be introduced in Aylesford Way and Pipers Lane.
The council said that there is widespread on-street commuter parking in the two roads and believed it was “reasonable to expect commuters traveling out of Thatcham to pay a charge to park”.
“However, we do not want to displace parking into nearby residential roads in significant numbers and so we have kept the proposed charges at a modest level.
“The charges near Thatcham Railway Station could be set higher than proposed, but we consider that this would have a negative impact on residential roads, with commuters parking in them.”
The proposals are available for public consultation until Sunday, December 11.
However, Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North) said that residents who would be most affected by the proposals should be consulted individually.
Elsewhere, prices in the Kingsland Centre will increase by 10p for up to three hours. However, parking for more than three hours will remain at £3.
The proposed hike follows on from increased charges introduced during the council’s sweeping £17.5m cuts last year.
The council also announced earlier this year that it had stopped monitoring the number of people visiting the town.
Speaking on the increased charges, Mr Dillon said: “We want to do everything we can do to increase footfall and make the town more viable.
“The parking charges are less than other areas in the district.
“If money has to be found from parking revenue then parochially, with my Thatcham hat on, I’m pleased that our increase was not as high as Hungerford or Newbury.”
A 10p increase for parking up to two or up to three hours will also apply to Gilbert Court.
Parking for up to one hour will remain free and the £2 charge for more than three hours will remain unchanged.
Parking for up to three hours at the Burdwood Centre will also rise by 10p, with no changes for up to two or over three hours parking.
Prices at the council-run car park at Thatcham Station will be unchanged.