New car park fees will be introduced in South Oxfordshire from April 1.

The fees are being simplified and rounded to the nearest whole pound while all car parks will continue to have a period of free parking. 

Because the rates are being rounded, some fees will be reduced by up to 16 per cent, while others will face increases.

Parking permits rates have been frozen.

South Oxfordshire district councillor Sue Cooper said: "It is always a difficult balance between supporting our local traders, ensuring we have enough revenue to invest in maintaining our car parks, and encouraging people to swap their cars for walking, bikes or buses when possible which would help improve air quality.

"I believe this is reflected in our decision to keep the hour’s free parking in our car parks in Didcot, Thame and Henley, while we have tried to keep increases modest wherever possible."

The new income from increased parking fees will cover the cost of managing and running the car parks.

Without such income, the council says funding would need to be diverted from other council services to subsidise car parking.

All funds from parking fees and permits contribute to the maintenance of car parks, highways, public conveniences and public open spaces while developing infrastructures for active travel such as cycle paths and bike storage.

These developments coincide with growing evidence suggesting that the accessibility of car parking spaces influences traffic to town centres more significantly than parking prices.