A COUNCILLOR said residents contacted him “in frustration” over the hike in parking charges across Chard.

Cllr for Chard South Connor Payne said that the Liberal Democrats raised the charges up by a minimum of 10 per cent in Somerset.

This month Somerset Council introduced new parking charges across the county following a review which will give consistency and cover inflationary costs.

Announcing the changes last month, the council also said: “During August, there will be an overall 10 per cent rise in parking charges across Somerset – though this will vary from car park to car park, in some the increase will be very slightly above or below 10 per cent, as the new fee will be rounded up to the nearest 10p.”

To provide support for residents, on-street parking permits in residential areas are not increasing, Somerset Council also added.

Cllr Connor Payne said: “Have you found yourself paying for parking and getting fewer hours than you paid for?

“Some residents have contacted me recently in frustration over the hike in Pay and Display charges across Chard.

“Well, across the whole of Somerset, the Liberal Democrats have hiked the charges up by a minimum of 10 per cent.

“5p an hour doesn't seem like a lot, but for someone who commutes to Chard and pays all day for their parking, they could be looking at having to spend an extra £150 more for parking every year.

"And for hard workers on a minimum wage, this is discriminatory stealth tax centred on bailing out a Lib Dem administration which is spending too much. It's not right, and it's got to stop."

“Somerset Liberal Democrats are on track to overspend by millions, they’re relying on you to bail them out and give them some extra pocket money.

“Cllr Martin Wale (Chard North) and I are calling on the Somerset Liberal Democrats to immediately scrap this hike and introduce free one-hour parking across all Chard P&D car parks.

“It’s common sense. Increase footfall on our high street. Businesses benefit, the high street benefits, and you benefit.”

A Somerset Council spokesperson said: “We have put up costs in line with inflation and to support operating costs – an average of ten percent in each site in Somerset, although in Chard, with a 10p increase on a £1.20p an hour charge, it is slightly under that.

“We think this is a fair cost for an hour’s parking. All income is ring-fenced to the transport and highways budget.”