AFTER reading the effort from the Opposition leader I had to reply (Gazette Letters, November 23, “Car park fees rise will add to problems”).

The fees in Colchester have not gone up, apart from a couple of changes, since 2008/9.

That’s a long time to freeze and we have had some great offers to help the town in the meantime.

What we are looking to do is change how parking is done, we want to use technology to help people.

We are working with the Bid to introduce an app on Mi Permit where if you shop at a place in town you will get a discount off your parking fee.

We want to bring back pay as you stay, using parking sensors and bluetooth.

To go along with helping congestion and to have funds to pump into greener measures in the town, then fees will go up for the town centre car parks.

We need to work with park and ride and it doesn’t make any sense that a car parking in town is cheaper than using park and ride.

Car parks on the outskirts will be cheaper than in town, if you park at Butt Road, Britannia and Sheepen Road, then it’s only a short walk into town, cutting out car use and improving air quality.

We hope to have a car share scheme which will make it cheap if people share a car.

Rowan House car park will be turned into a public car park with a cheap offer.

All of this information was given to councillors at the scrutiny panel where opposition councillors made no comments.

If it was just about money, we would increase fees at every car park we own. But it’s not.

We have already committed to free parking every Wednesday evening in December to help the town and shoppers.

It’s a hard balance to help the planet and help retail but the steps we have taken will help.

Mike Lilley

Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing & Public Safety

Councillor for Old Heath the Hythe & Rowhedge