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Students have called for a review of car parking prices in Lichfield.
Demand for parking in the city has been on the increase with the closure of one site as part of the Friary Outer scheme.
And now students claim contractors and workers from the redevelopment using the long stay spaces at South Staffordshire College and Staffordshire University’s Lichfield campus means they are struggling to find a spot and are being forced to fork out to park elsewhere.
Burntwood IT student Sam Russell told LichfieldLive that he had received a number of complaints in his role as a course representative, and called on Lichfield District Council to find affordable alternatives.
“Most educational establishments in Staffordshire have parking or reduced rate parking for students,” he said. “As we are in the centre of Lichfield we get nothing.
“Since the start of the redevelopment, builders and contractors have been taking up spaces in the long stay car park meaning less or no spaces for students.
“We have had to use alternative car parks such as The Friary, which is a short stay where the price for six hours is £7.
“How do they expect students who don’t receive EMA or any support from the Government to pay stupidly high car parking prices?”
However, Lichfield District Council have said there are enough alternatives for students, even with the current closure of the Friary site.
Leader Mike Wilcox explained: “South Staffordshire College owns a small car park with 48 spaces that can be used by everyone including students, which we run on their behalf. The university agrees the charges and keeps the profits.
“Up until last year, this car park was a short-stay facility. In preparation for the redevelopment of Lombard Street Car Park, in 2005 we rented extra space from the university to create a temporary long-stay car park on the site. We recently extended the life of this car park to relieve pressure while Friary Outer is out of action. The university also agreed to convert their small car park into a long-stay facility.
“Although students are very welcome to use the car parks on the university site, they are not set aside exclusively for students and are offered on a first come first served basis.
“While the other car parks close to the university are short-stay, there are three long-stay car parks in easy reach of the Lichfield campus, including the Bus Station, Birmingham Road, and Sandford Street car parks.
“We regularly monitor these car parks and know there are always long-stay spaces available in the city that would be no more than ten minutes walk to the university.”
Cllr Wilcox also explained that a variety of parking options were essential for the success of the city centre for a wide range of visitors.
“We have a mix of long-stay and short-stay car parks which are priced differently,” he added. “The short-stay pricing is cheaper if you stay for a couple of hours, but more expensive if you choose to park there all day.
“This is both to make it cheaper for people to pop into the city and also to encourage people who are staying for longer to use a long-stay car park. This keeps the short-stay facilities free for short-term users and boosts footfall to local shops.
“We are looking forward to opening our new and improved Friary car park soon, which will have around 400 long-stay car parking spaces for everyone to use.
“We also offer season tickets for £40 a month that can be used our long-stay car parks across the city, which would work out at £2 a day, if people park in the city from Monday to Friday.”