Free Christmas Car Parking Announced
Wokingham Borough Council announced today (Wednesday, 7 December) that it will provide free car parking on the two Saturdays before Christmas, but is unable to provide the usual free weekend parking for all Saturdays in December.
The council has repeatedly said over the last couple of months that it is facing unprecedented financial pressures, with costs spirally upward and sources of income largely fixed or dropping, causing it to have to make some difficult decisions.
Leader of the council, Cllr Clive Jones, said: “No one wants to cancel the free festive parking – of course we don’t. But, we are in a very serious financial position and we need to do the right thing to keep the council afloat and keep our services up and running.
“We need people to understand the reality of the situation we are in. Two flagship authorities in the South East are telling central Government that they are about to go broke. That could be us, if we don’t make the difficult decisions now to secure our financial position. We don’t want to do this, but we have no other choice. If we aren’t able to balance our books, we could find ourselves in the same situation as Slough Borough Council. And that is to be avoided at all costs.”
Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, added: “We know free festive parking has been popular for many years, and not offering would seem unfair given the pressure we all feel. We felt it important to find a good balance – a compromise – between protecting our finances and supporting our residents and local shops.
“For reasons beyond our control, our finances are increasingly limited and the money we lose by not charging for festive parking will have to be found elsewhere in our budget.”
The council is advising drivers not to pay for parking using the on site machines or Ringo. Both will continue to accept payment on the free parking days and the council will not provide refunds. There will be signs up at all applicable car parks.
Free parking will be available at the following car parks on 17 and 24 December:
- Carnival Pool Multi Storey, Wokingham
- Cockpit Path, Wokingham
- Denmark Street, Wokingham
- Easthampstead Road (East and West), Wokingham
- Rose Street, Wokingham
- Shute End, Wokingham