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FEWER than 10 percent of York people who have residents' discount parking badges have bought the new passes they need for cut price parking in York from today.

According to figures found by Liberal Democrat councillor Ann Reid, only 3382 new Minster badges - which cost £20 each - have been bought, raising fears that many drivers do not know of the change and will be hit by parking fines when they try to use their outdated badges.

Council cabinet member for transport David Levene has said that after city-wide publicity, they are confident sales of the badges will go up now the scheme has started, and has said the badges are good value for money.

But Cllr Reid said: "This is yet another Lendal Bridge in the making, with poor publicity and low awareness of the changes which will land people liable for a fine for parking as they have been doing for years. Once again poor publicity, and in this case it’s the people who live here rather than occasional visitors, who will be caught out."

Cllr Reid has also voiced concerns that the new rules will tempt York people away from the city centre towards out of town shopping sites with free parking.

The new Minster badge scheme was introduced to help bridge a £200,000 funding shortfall in the City of York Council's parking income. But with many residents choosing not to buy in to the scheme, the income the council gets from parking could fall even further, she added.

Cllr Levene added: "The introduction of a modest charge - residents can make their money back in just five evening visits a year - for Minster Badges is necessary to stop significant abuse by non-residents and make savings made necessary by massive cuts from the Conservative-Lib Dem Government, which local Lib Dems continue to support.

"York was one of the only councils in the country to offer this scheme free of charge; moving forward we are investing heavily in parking and the city centre through schemes like Marygate Pay-on-Exit and free parking Thurs-Sat mornings."

The old residents' parking badges are no longer valid and from today [Monday] are needed to take advantage of free or discounted parking for York residents.