Town centre car parking fees are set to rocket by 20 per cent and all free parking will end as council chiefs look to make multi-million pound budget savings.
Town hall chiefs say the price hike - which will mean an average hour charge rising from 80p to £1 - is the first of its kind for six years.
This is the first increase in charges since 2011 and we will still maintain discounted parking in the town on Saturdays with the charge of 50 pence for up to two hoursPaul Sanderson, St Helens Council’s strategic director for environmental and trading standards
It comes after the authority was charged with making savings of £7.4m from its budget.
Tariffs will increase from May 1.
Free parking on Saturday and after 3pm on weekdays, introduced in a bid to increase footfall in the town centre, will also end.
A council spokesman said: “Across the board, most charges will go up by 20 per cent, with on average one hours’ parking increasing to £1 from 80 pence, and two hours to £1.50 from £1.20, on Mondays to Fridays.
“However, concessions will be in place for Saturdays with parking in all council run car parks capped at 50 pence for up to two hours and £1 for over two hours.
“Since 2011 St Helens Council has frozen parking charges and offered concessions such as free parking on Saturdays and free after 3pm, however in light of the need to make savings this year of £7.4 million and the requirement to protect vital services such as child and adult social care, this can no longer be the case.”
Paul Sanderson, St Helens Council’s strategic director for environmental and trading standards, said: “With the unprecedented level of savings to be made and the need to protect essential services, together with the raising costs to maintain the car parks, we have little choice but to increase parking charges in the town centre.
“This is the first increase in charges since 2011 and we will still maintain discounted parking in the town on Saturdays with the charge of 50 pence for up to two hours.
“Even with the increase, parking in St Helens town centre is still cheaper than surrounding towns where charges apply.”
Parking permits for businesses and individuals have not increased.