A RAFT of new parking charges in Worcester can today be revealed - and will launch from Monday, July 21.

Your Worcester News can reveal how the new-look Conservative leadership has struck an agreement with city council managing director Duncan Sharkey for a series of big reductions.

The changes, described as "great news" by traders, include:

- £1 after 7pm across the city and just 40p for just minutes at eight selected sites, as your Worcester News revealed was likely last Friday

- 60p for half-an-hour at Copenhagen Street, Cornmarket and Providence Street, a 50 per cent reduction

- Four hours for £5 at Copenhagen Street, Cornmarket and Providence Street compared to the current price of £6, and six hours for £7.50 at the same sites compared to £10 now

- All three of those car parks will also charge £10 for 24 hours, down from £15

- Among the other reductions is £3 for six hours at Croft Road, compared to £5 now

The 40p for 30 minutes will apply to Cattle Market, King Street, Newport Street, St Martin's Gate, Clare Street, Commandery Road, Orchard House and Croft Road.

By law the council must wait 21 days for the charges to start, and is sorting out new signs to reflect the price changes.

The move means all the rises agreed by the old Labour leadership, which was ousted from office in June, have been reversed.

When the prices went up it led to criticism from city traders, with around 30 High Street names and 150 shoppers signing a petition.

Adrian Field, from Worcester's Business Improvement District, which represents the shops, said: "It's great news for the evening economy, excellent news for the city generally and I think it'll be universally welcomed.

"It's a bit of a no-brainer for us, nobody wants to see rises."

The promotion is a technically a temporary one until the end of October, but by then the city's Tory administration intends to ratify permanent changes at September's full council meeting.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said: "This is something we campaigned on and we wanted to act quickly to help the city."

The opposition Labour group say the cuts come despite car parking income being 3.8 per cent up since April.

Councillor Richard Boorn, the party's finance spokesman, said: "More people are currently parking up despite the higher prices - there's no disagreement over trying to increase footfall but I do question the financial aspect of this."


THE price reductions have also been welcomed by a Worcester riverside cafe - as it includes big changes for lorries and coaches.

After a revolt from holiday firms the council is slashing the current £10 price for coaches to use Croft Road car park back to £5.

Last month your Worcester News revealed how Chris Wise, who runs Cafe Severn on the Quay directly opposite the site, said coaches were threatening to boycott his business after the controversial rise.

On top of the reduction, prices for lorries to use it will go from £25 back to the original £5.

Mr Wise said the changes were "a positive step in the right direction" for the city.

Many of the lorry drivers and coach firms had signed a petition in his cafe criticising the old rises.

"Since the coach prices were put up to £10 in April the city has effectively been boycotted by coach parties," he said.

"That’s hit my business and it’s hit trade across Worcester."

Councillor Marc Bayliss, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: "I’m delighted that we’re slashing prices just in time for the school holidays.

"We’re confident these steps we’re taking will give our great city a welcome boost at the height of summer."