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As part of the Environmental Management scheme proposed by Lancaster University, an increase in parking charges was made effective at the beginning of October. The cost of parking in the Sports Field car park was increased at the start of this academic year, rising from £1 to £3.
With not all students being eligible for a parking permit, students have vocalised their disapproval of the new parking prices, as this increase hardly reflects the quality of the car park, which is not tarmacked or lined.
SCAN News ran a social media poll and found that 86% of those who responded thought the increase was unacceptable, while 14% backed the rise in prices.
Joshua Woolf, President of Lancaster University Students’ Union, stated in his manifesto for last year’s Union elections that he intended “to stop Lancaster from punishing students for owning a car”. We spoke to Joshua on the matter, and found that the increase in parking costs were determined during his annual leave, and the issue of parking was not set in the agenda for the meeting.
Joshua said, “I wasn’t able to voice my concerns about the price of the Sport Field car park. I will be including it in my termly update to the University senior management and raising the issue with the Vice Chancellor. This is something that our student members are passionate about and won’t be left unfinished.”
This means that students attending university 5 days a week, who require their car as they are not eligible for a permit, will be left paying around £450 a year on parking alone, on top of their general living costs.
Joshua says, “The state of the car park is simply unacceptable for £3 per day. Lancaster University is determined to make students #PayMoreGetLess.”
The Environmental Management scheme aims to “improve the quality and value for money for money of alternatives to single-occupancy car travel”, according to the university’s website. The rise may have been put in place to act as a deterrent for single-occupancy car travel, and to encourage the use of public transport.
One unhappy student said, “I understand they are trying to reach their environmental target but some of us need a car that doesn’t fall under the reason for a permit. The uni already makes enough off us, no one parks there but students so why are they penalising us for a privilege that we can afford because we work hard?” Others disagree, saying that “the university should do everything possible to discourage driving, including high charges on drivers”.
Laura Wilkinson, Vice-President Campaigns and Communications said, “Following the creation of a petition by Laura Clancy on our website we decided to fight against the increases in parking charges and encouraged people to sign the petition, which currently has 220 signatures.”
The petition created by Laura Clancy is still open to sign, and can be found at https://lusu.co.uk/thestudentvoice/sports-field-car-park-fee-changes
Joshua Woolf insists the Union will not let the issue lie: “I’d like to reassure students that their issue hasn’t been forgotten and that I won’t just let it go. I am passionate about fighting for our members and won’t let the university make changes like this that directly take money away from students’ pockets without me challenging them on it at every step of the way.”