Swanage car parking fees to go up for spring and summer

The cost of parking in a Swanage Town Council long stay car park during the spring and summer season is to rise from Saturday 1st April 2023 for the first time in about 12 years.

In finalising its budget for 2023/24, Swanage Town Council has also increased boat park fees, tennis and golf putting fees at Beach Gardens and the cost of a burial at Godlingston Cemetery, however the town council precept (the slice of council tax collected locally) is not to increase for households, along with the hire costs of the council-owned beach huts.

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Main Beach car park

Main Beach car park is quiet in winter but usually packed in summer

Swanage Town Council is upping its fees

Most public car parks in the county are owned by Dorset Council but unusually Swanage Town Council owns all the public car parks in the town. Dorset Council increased its fees for its car parks and on-street car parking in April 2022. Now the town council is upping its prices, having not increased many of the fees since 2011.

The price increase affects Main Beach car park in Victoria Avenue, Broad Road car park near the pier and North Beach car park off De Moulham Road. The fees at the short stay Mermond Place car park near the Recreation Ground and the Co-op car park are not going up.

Cars along Swanage Seafront

Dorset Council increased the on-street parking charges along Shore Road last April 2022

Winter charges remain at £1 a day

Typically the price for hourly parking from Saturday 1st April 2023 in the long stay car parks is to go up by between 10p and £1.

In comparison to the on-street parking along Shore Road in Swanage operated by Dorset Council, the price in the car parks generally remains more favourable. It also remains cheaper than comparable Dorset Council car parks.

The winter charges are to remain at £1 a day in the Main Beach and Broad Road car parks and free in the North Beach car park.

Broad Road car park

Broad Road car park has one of the best town centre views in Dorset

Main Beach and Broad Road car parks charges

1st April to 30th June and 1st September to 31st October

  • Car and motor caravans for 1 hour: now £1.50 / New price £1.60
  • Car and motor caravans up to 6 hours: now £6.50 / New price £6.80
  • Car and motor caravans up to 24 hours (no overnight sleeping): now £8 / New price £9

1st July to 31st August

  • Car and motor caravans for 1 hour: now £1.80 / New price £2
  • Car and motor caravans up to 6 hours: now £7.20 / New price £7.60
  • Car and motor caravans up to 24 hours (no overnight sleeping): now £8 / New price £9

1st November to 31st March

  • Car and motor caravans up to 24 hours (no overnight sleeping): now £1 / Staying at £1
North Beach car park in Swanage

North Beach car park remains free to use up to 24 hours, during winter

North Beach car park charges

1st April to 31st October

  • Car and motor caravans for 1 hour: now £1.50 / New price £1.60
  • Car and motor caravans up to 6 hours: now £5 / New price £5.30
  • Car and motor caravans up to 24 hours (no overnight sleeping): now £6 / New price £7

1st November to 31st March

  • Free parking

Resident’s parking permit

The charge for residents’ parking is not increasing, however the cost of getting a residents’ parking permit is going up from £5 to £6 from Saturday 1st April 2023. This is the first increase since 2012.

Swanage Town Hall

Swanage Town Hall in the High Street

Town Council precept frozen for households

The good news for residents is that councillors voted at the meeting on Monday 16th January 2023 to not increase the Swanage Town Council precept for households for 2023/24. This makes up part of the council tax bill and although it represents a small slice of the bill, it has been creeping up each year.

Last year for 2022/23 it went up a whacking and somewhat difficult to justify 12.4 percent. Because of the increase in the number of homes in Swanage, when the cost was shared out, this equated to a 9.5 percent increase in residents’ bills.

This year there was a general acceptance among councillors that anything but a price freeze for households would not be well received by residents. However the overall tax take will increase by 1.08 percent because of more new build properties at Compass Point. This will bring in an additional £9,030 in income for 2023/24.

Swanage Town Hall

Councillors at the meeting in the Town Hall voted for a zero percent increase in the precept for 2023/24

“It’s the good and moral thing to do”

Speaking at an earlier meeting, councillor Gary Suttle said:

“Last year there was a high increase which was unprecedented. I propose that we don’t increase the precept for households this year – it’s the good and moral thing to do when there are families in Swanage trying to decide whether or not to spend an extra 30p on items for a school lunch box.”

Councillor Bill Trite added:

“We need to show residents that we know what they are experiencing in terms of the increasing cost of living. Things are probably as bad as they can be at the moment.”

Councillor Chris Tomes, whose family runs the Swanage Costcutter, said:

“I’ve never seen food price increases as dramatic as they are now. If we can make a difference to the people in the town, we should do so.”

Further information

  • Swanage Town Council budget report for 2023/24
  • More about car parking and residents’ parking permits in Swanage is on the council website

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