Wallingford residents are speaking out in protest against South Oxfordshire District Council in relation to the price increase of parking permits in the wider area.

Residents who pay for an annual permit have been hit with increases in the last two consecutive years are calling on the district council for answers as to how it can justify continuing increases.

One Wallingford resident, Maggie Coles, paid £325 in 2022 for an annual permit, yet when re-applying for 2024 was faced with a cost of £435 – an increase of approximately 30 per cent in just two years.

Ms Coles does not have a private parking space at her home and thus has to use St. George’s Road Car Park to park her car, however cannot always secure a definite space.

Despite paying for an annual permit, she has been informed by the district council that there “is no guarantee” of a space.

Ms Coles said: “I have now had to buy a permit for three months instead of a year due to the affordability issue. Ironically this works out as more expensive.

“This is solely profiteering on the council’s part. Other town car parks all now face higher costs too. I don’t see how they can justify an increase of this level in such a short time.

“I’m sure it will keep increasing annually – it will outprice me and others and discourage us from living in Wallingford.

“I’m thinking of leaving the town altogether as I don’t need the stress and panic of not knowing where to park when there’s no guaranteed space, especially on weekends and when events are on.”

Ms Coles says she feels deterred from contacting the district council again after her previous experiences of speaking with them.

She added: “I don’t suppose for a minute that they would be interested in my phone call – when I pointed out I couldn’t always park they dismissed me. I think help is highly unlikely."

A spokesperson for South Oxfordshire District Council said: “We appreciate any financial increase is challenging for residents and we try to keep our car park permit fees as reasonable as possible for everyone. 

“In previous years, we’ve increased the cost of parking and permits to ensure the councils finances remain stable. However, permit fees will not increase this year.

“All funds from car parking fees and permits are invested back into providing the service and making improvements to car parks, highways, public conveniences and public open spaces, as well as developing infrastructure to encourage active travel.

“Car park demand fluctuates and so we’re unable to guarantee a space for permit holders.

"We make this clear upon sign-up, but the vast majority of the time, there should be ample space available.

“On rare occasions, such as in the build up to Christmas, parking may be more challenging, and we would advise people to find a legal parking spot within walking distance nearby. We cannot condone illegal parking in any circumstance.”