Back to ‘some sense of normality’ in Ely will be the end of ’stay as long as you like’ free parking

The temporary lifting of time restrictions on Ely's free car parks will end from August 1. So check

The temporary lifting of time restrictions on Ely's free car parks will end from August 1. So check when you park how long you can stay. - Credit: Archant

Free all-day parking in Ely is to come to an end on August 1 as time restrictions will be re-introduced.

Car parking restrictions will apply once again from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday and early morning restrictions will resume in long stay car parks.

Cllr David Brown, chairman of the district council’s assets and finance committee reminded visitors to “check the signs that will be visible in the car parks to remind you of the restrictions that apply in the car park you are using.”

The return to what Cllr Brown describes as “some sense of normality” comes as East Cambs Council revealed the losses it expects this year on car park income.

Car parking usage of the council’s commuter car parks nose-dived by around 90 per cent during the pandemic; recovery is slow as more people choose to work from home and avoid public transport.

“This has resulted in lost income of around £20,000 per month during April and May,” councillors were told on Thursday in a report on the council’s finances.

“But the annual loss, as with many of the figures in this report will be dependent upon the speed of the recovery and in this case, how quickly people resume commuting by rail,” said the report.

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“A very rough estimate of the council annual loss of income could be around £133,000 this financial year.”

East Cambs recoups a small portion of the costs of operating free car parks through enforcement.

An investigation by the Ely Standard earlier this year showed an increasing number who refuse to pay fixed penalty notices are being taken to court.

Our report revealed that court costs and fines could total over £250 for those who refused to pay.

The council says it suspended restrictions during lockdown to allow those undertaking essential trips to do so without the worry of enforcement action.

Cllr Brown said: “This suspension also allowed residents to follow the ‘stay at home’ guidance and not need to leave the house to move their car if using the free car parking spaces. However, as residents get used to the new normal and get back to work, the council has made the decision to reinstate time restrictions on its free car parks.”