Havering Council is tidying up some of its car parking charges, to extend the free parking period and reduce the cost of parking for up to two hours.

New tariffs were introduced earlier this month after an extensive consultation last year. They introduced a period of free parking outside Romford and in on-street bays, to support local businesses. But some residents felt their introduction sent a confusing message – with free parking for up twenty minutes and then a pound for anything up to one hour. Motorists also contacted the Council to say it was not clear how to claim the free parking period.

In order to provide clarity to motorists and to reinforce the original aims of supporting the high street, the Council will now allow motorists to park for free for thirty minutes, followed by a fee of £1 to park for up to two hours. Better signage in the car parks will tell motorists that they need to display a ticket, even for the free period – which can be obtained from the pay and display machines.

It is hoped that the free period will support smaller shopping parades, which rely on shoppers being able to pop-in for a few essentials. Extending the £1 tariff to allow two hours’ parking will support shoppers in larger centres like Hornchurch and Upminster.

The new, simpler schedule of charges is as follows:
• Up to 30 minutes – FREE
• Up to 2 hours – £1.00
• Up to 3 hours – £2.00

The remaining tariff structure is unchanged. The new charges also apply to on-street pay and display. Parking remains free on a Sunday and there is no need to display a ticket on this day.

Cheryl Coppell, Chief Executive of Havering Council, said:

“The aim of having a period of free parking outside Romford was to encourage people to visit our high streets and support local businesses. We’ve recognised that this message may have been lost in the implementation of the new policy. So with the agreement of the Council Leader, we’ve tidied up the charges, so motorists can park longer for less and have half an hour’s parking for free.

“Following on from feedback we will also be improving the signage, so that motorists know how to get a ticket to cover the free parking period. In order to make the changes we will be suspending parking charges outside Romford over the weekend.”

Under new laws brought in earlier this year, parking enforcement will only be considered ten minutes after the ticket has expired, giving motorists a ‘grace period’ to return to their vehicle.