Car park prices are set to be overhauled in West Dorset – but it’s not yet been set out what the charges will be.

Councillors will meet on Thursday to discuss a car parking policy which, if approved, will be in effect until 2022. It pledges to ensure that pricing is set according to demand, with charges higher in peak season and in central locations. 

But a report to councillors states that charges will be considered and decided when West Dorset District Council sets its 2018/19 budget, because a consultation held in August last year resulted in various and ‘inconsistent’ responses from different town councils. 

Dorchester Town Council said the proposed changes ‘do not take into account the town-wide parking review. Beaminster Town Council wants to reduce the minimum stay in the long stay car parks from three hours to two, while Bridport Town Council wants a lower all day charge in the short stay car park, which, at £6.30, is considered ‘too high’. And Sherborne Chamber of Commerce admitted that a rise in charges is ‘overdue’, but called for workers in the town to have discounted parking.

The parking policy also sets out how the district council wants to improve the facilities and management of its car parks. This includes developing a five-year rolling maintenance programme, establishing a safety inspection regime and ensuring all car parks achieve the Park Mark standard by April 2019.

The policy notes: “There are a number of issues in West Bay car parks. A section of West Bay Road car park, Bridport Arms and Station Road car parks are in a poor state and in need of major improvement works to maximise the number of vehicles which can be parked there.”

Regarding pricing, the policy states that charges will be reviewed annually, and pledges to set rates on a demand basis, with support for residents and businesses, and a one hour ‘grace period’ for Blue Badge users, compared to 10 minutes for non-Blue Badge holders.

There are also moves to create bigger bays for motorhomes.

The report states: “”Currently motorhomes are charged at the same rate as cars, however they must pay for the number of bays which are occupied. It is proposed that additional motorhome bays are introduced across the district with charges as per that applicable for cars during the daytime and an overnight charge where sleeping is permitted of £10.”

The WDDC overview and scrutiny committee meets on Thursday at South Walks House in Dorchester where they will be asked to approve the policy.