Match day costs are set to rise for some Preston North End fans with the introduction of new parking charges from the city council.
Currently around 80 vehicles can park for free across from the club’s Deepdale Stadium in Moor Park Avenue.
But city officials are set to start charging fans £7 to park in the road on match days, a move some fear will push more cars into the already congested nearby streets.
Charges are also being put up from £5 to £7 for fans parking on the car park on Moor Park across from the stadium during home fixtures from April 1.
Council bosses say the move is being made due to ‘reduced budgets’ and money raised from the scheme will be pumped into the park.
But some residents in the area have voiced concerns it will exacerbate problems with congestion.
One resident on St Thomas’ Road, who didn’t want to be named, said: “My husband drives and he finds it difficult to find a spot outside our home. If they are bringing in more charges it can only make it worse.”
Some fans also criticised the move with one writing on social media: “It will simply lead to residential streets being even more packed full of parked vehicles”.
But others backed the move.
Preston resident Mark Fenerty said: “At a time of council cutbacks [I] can see why they are doing it.”
He added: “I think the council are having to be proactive to find funds and a car park directly across from the stadium is perfect place to find them.”
“I am a season ticket holder at Everton and any parking near the stadium is a minimum of £5 all the streets in a mile radius are permit only on match day.”
Coun James Hull, who represents St George’s war, said the move is ‘regrettable’ but hopes it will have little impact on local residents.
He said: “Of course it is regrettable, it would be better if people could park for free, but the maintenance of the car park is huge and there is no funding coming from central government.”
Coun Hull added: “The people who don’t pay for parking will continue not to and those that do, will continue to do so. People are already willing to pay as it currently is."
Coun Hull noted that the £7 rate will still be a cheaper rate for match day parking around Deepdale, with parking at the stadium and at Moor Park School costing £12.50 and £8 per vehicle, respectively.
A public notice has been put up at the park by Preston Council warning fans of the changes next month.It reads: “Please be aware that from April 1, 2018, there will be a £7 charge, per vehicle, for match day parking on both Moor Park car park and Moor Park Avenue for all Preston North End home games.”
Many people took to Facebook to give their opinions on the move.
Audrey Hall, on social media, said: “They should lower it to £3. Even that’s too much. I hope they have a change of heart.”
The charges also attracted plenty of attention from North End supporters on the PNE Online fan forum.
One user, Schemer, said it “will simply lead to residential streets being even more packed full of parked vehicles”.
FootballcrazyP_ said: “It’s cheaper to park in town and get the bus. Simple.”
Another support said: “It’s £10 on the football ground at least so £7 across the road is an appropriate charge. It’s called good business from the council. You have a choice.”
Cabinet member for community and environment, Coun Robert Boswell, said: “We review all fees and charges on an annual basis. Due to reduced budgets and increased income targets for all services, match day parking at Moor Park will be increased from 1st April.
“This offers competitive rates in a prime location near to Preston North End’s ground. Parking at these locations is free at all other times.
“The income generated will be invested in the park infrastructure. Moor Park has recently undergone a major restoration and, as such, the car park and avenue also need funding for ongoing maintenance.”
A spokesman for Preston North End said that the club have not been consulted by the council over the increase to parking costs at Moor Park.
The change is set to affect 200 car vehicles, with the car park holding 120 vehicles and Moor Park Avenue a further 80.