The Greater Manchester town that’s seen the biggest hike in parking fees

Car park outside Sainsbury's in Oldham Town Centre
-Credit: (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Oldham has seen one of the biggest increases in car parking costs across the UK in the last two years. The council has doubled its fees since 2022, making it the third biggest increase among local authorities.

Drivers in Oldham have seen fees hiked from 88p to £1.66 since 2022, according to Freedom of Information Requests made by Churchill Motor Insurance. Only Sandwell Council in the West Midlands (who raised their fees from 40p to 98p) and Renfrewshire Council in Scotland (from 60p to £1.25) have seen bigger percentage increases.

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A spokesperson for Oldham council responded: “Almost every council in the country charges for parking and we understand people do not want to pay for it and how unpopular increases are.

“But any increase in charges isn’t about raising money for the council.

“The parking service has to be funded and by law, any surplus money generated by parking fees and charges must be spent on improving public transport, road safety schemes and air quality or environmental improvements. This includes helping to maintain our roads, pavements and cycle routes and fixing potholes and other improvements. The costs of carrying out these works have all increased in recent years.”

There are a number of council-owned parking spaces in the town centre where drivers can park for free for up to three hours on Saturday and Sundays, including at the Civic Centre, Bow Street and outside Tommyfield market. But the spokesperson also encouraged people to use public transport and alternative forms of transport instead.

Yet, with some parts of the borough only accessible via limited bus services, many residents don't have a choice but to use their cars and pay the charge.

Oldham is not the only local authority to raise parking charges. Fees have increased by more than 10 percent on average across the UK, according to analysis by the insurance firm. And overnight parking charges have rocketed more than 20 pc, according to analysis of the 138 FOI responses received from local authorities.