'A big jump' and 'still a good deal' - mixed reaction as Wicksteed Park increases its car parking charges

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The decision to increase car parking charges at Wicksteed Park has been met with a mixed reaction from visitors.

The cost of an annual permit is set to jump by 33 per cent, with prices for all-day parking also rising by 25 per cent from October 2.

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Bosses at the Kettering attraction say they rely on parking charges to continue free access and maintenance, adding that they’ve faced significant cost increases.

Wicksteed ParkWicksteed Park
Wicksteed Park

Some say the new charges are still great value – but others have complained and said the park is in ‘danger of alienating people’.

Charges for the car park, which is managed using an ANPR system, are currently £3 for one to two hours, £4 for two to three hours, £6 for all-day and £45 for an annual permit.

The price for one to two hours will remain at £3 when the new charges come into effect, but two to three hours will become £5, all-day will jump to £7.50 and an annual permit will shoot up to £60.

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A number of social media users hit out at the decision with some saying they would not be renewing their annual passes.

One said: "With respect, that's a 33.3 per cent increase, when inflation is running at around seven per cent. Yes costs have increased for everybody but that's a big jump.”

Another said: "Quite a big increase for annual parking. I think you may see a decline in sales if the annual pass increases to £60. Such a shame for local people who like to visit the park regularly.”

A third said: "You are in danger of alienating people with your prices, £6 for a shake drink, £50 for two kids to be with the meerkats and now car park charges. Locals like us use the park all through the year spending money on food and drink, we soon will be unable to do so.”

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And another said: "£7.50 for a whole day! That’s more than Alton Towers. Sort yourself out Wickies!”

But others leapt to the defence of the park and said the new charges still represent good value for money.

One said: "Not denying it is a big jump for the annual pass, but it still works out at only £5 a month to park your car there as many times you want, for as long as you want. Still a good deal if you're up there regularly.”

Another said: "Still great value considering what you can do for free in the park. Very few places around now that offer so much.”

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And a third said: “Everywhere has price increases, the park isn't cheap to run, the animals are not free to feed, the grass doesn't cut itself, the play area doesn't fix itself!

"The park needs to increase prices to keep up with the rising costs.”

A Wicksteed Park spokesman said: “The trust receives no regular external funding and therefore relies upon car parking charges to fund the continued free access to and maintenance of this beautiful green space for the people of Kettering and beyond.

“Over the past year, we've faced significant increases in costs from utilities to general price inflation, which we must fund to keep the park open for all to enjoy.”