CAR parking charges across Somerset are set to rise by ten per cent in light of persistent high inflation.

Somerset Council has published proposals to increase the prices at all its off-street car parks, as well as the on-street parking it manages and the costs of the season tickets which it issues.

An increase in these areas was built into the council’s annual budget, which was approved in February – with the council estimating the increase could generate an additional £726,000.

The council said the increase would be necessary to allow it to continue delivering public services at their current level.

Steve Deakin, the council’s parking services manager, said: “Parking charges and fees are to be increased to reflect recent inflationary pressures and to maintain the encouragement to alternative types of transport to town centres, such as buses, cycling and car sharing.

“The increased charges and fees will enable the council to continue to meet its overall transport objectives without increasing an additional demand on the general expenditure fund.”

Across all the council’s off-street car parks, charges will rise by up to ten per cent, with prices being rounded up where necessary.

For example, at the Mount Street car park in Bridgwater town centre (near the Northgate Yard complex), the cost of parking for up to three hours will rise from £3 to £3.30 – and the cost of parking at Northgate Yard itself will rise from £4 to £4.40 for a four-hour period.

Similar increases will be implemented at the council’s off-street car parks in Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Cheddar, Crewkerne, Dulverton, Dunster, Frome, Glastonbury, Highbridge, Ilminster, Minehead, Porlock, Shepton Mallet, Somerton, Street, Taunton, Watchet, Wellington, Wells, Williton and Yeovil.

In Minehead, off-street car parking charges will be “harmonised” with on-street parking and those near the railway station to “avoid artificial competition”.

In Street, increases in the car parks around Clarks Village will be pending consultation with the company’s management agreement with the council – with Clarks Village having the final decision on charges.

In Taunton, the cost of parking in the newly-refurbished Crescent car park will rise by more than ten per cent, to “reflect the premium status of the car park following refurbishment, the loss of spaces and to encourage use of other car parks”.

Charges will also rise for season tickets, with the cost of parking at Frome’s Cattle Market (for example) rising from £620 a year to £682.

The council said that any surplus generated from the increased would be reinvested directly into enforcement activity, rather than being siphoned off to subsidise other services.