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Students hit as parking permit price hiked by a third

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Photo: Hannah McNicol

Students will be landed with a one-third hike in the price of a full-year parking permit at the University of Stirling, Brig has learned.

The increase will see the price of a full-year permit jump from £150 to £200, whilst ‘pay as you go’ and standard parking charges will see no change.

It follows the rise to £150 in 2014/15, which also saw the  ‘pay as you go’ fee double from £1 to £2 for a day.

The university has stated in the past the cost of maintaining parking facilities is in the region of £260,000 a year, which is one of the reasons for the increased fee.

Students can purchase half-year permits worth £100, lasting between September to February, and March to August.

The university told Brig: “The increase in the… full-time parking permit goes some considerable way to rebalancing the differential between the ‘pay as you go’ fee and the standard permit cost.

“The increase also recognizes the annual incremental costs for supplies, maintenance and other resources, as well as meeting the costs of administering the management and enforcement of parking.”

Complaints have been raised in the past over limited parking at the university. Focus groups were established last semester to address the problem, but failed due to lack of interest.

Despite the money raised from permits being put towards maintaining facilities, there are no plans to increase the number of spaces available to staff and students.

The university said: “Planning conditions, and financial and aesthetic considerations restrict, ultimately, the number of additional spaces that the university might be able to or would wish to create.”

The university is further limited due to being a designated Historic Garden and Designed Landscape space, restricting areas of construction.

Stress was placed on “sustainable” modes of transport, with the university urging for students to car share, walk or cycle to classes.

Despite this rise, students will not receive a designated parking spot, which are available on a first-come first-served basis.

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Users face fines starting at £30 for offences. Photo: The AA

Matt Adie, VP Education, responding to the rise, said: “Whilst [the Union] remain disappointed that the university has taken such a decision, which will no doubt have a negative impact on both students and staff, we feel the changes coming through are significantly less damaging than what was initially proposed in May 2016.

“The Union continues to work with Estates and Campus Services, and the university, to resolve issues surrounding car parking, and promote healthier and more sustainable travel options.”

Initial proposals included limiting permit options available, but the Union were successful in scaling back the changes.

Lucy Cran, third year sociology and criminology student, said the rise puts “strain on student funds”, and doubted the reasons for it.

She added: “I understand [being environmentally friendly] is the image the university are required to maintain.

“But the ease and speed of using a car will always outweigh the environmental aspects, in my opinion, and I think a number of students would agree. I don’t think increasing it is necessary.”

Other universities have parking arrangements. Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh allows for free parking. Charges for full-year permits are found at Napier University (£48), Glasgow University (£120-170), and Dundee University (£372).

The university said it “acknowledges that the increase of £50 to the standard permit charge appears relatively high when compared to the previous year’s charge.

“However, students who opt to purchase either a standard full-year or single-semester permit will still be able to apply for a pro-rata refund for any unused portion of the amended full parking year for which their individual permit applies.”

Matt Adie invited students to contact him at education.union@stir.ac.uk.

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