10 cent parking in city 

SHOPPERS will be able to park for 15 minutes in the CBD over Christmas for just 10 cents – even though they could before.

Unbeknown to many, Newcastle City Council parking meters in the city already allow a quarter of an hour for the small sum,  which works out to be 1 cents per minute for the duration.

To alert more shoppers to the low-cost 15-minute period, the Newcastle Alliance has gained council permission to  put information stickers on the meters.

The measure comes a week after the council refused 30-minute free parking in the city in the lead-up to Christmas,  saying it would cost more than $35,000 to change the tariffs on the parking meters.

Alliance chairman Paul Murphy said while it was disappointing, the important thing was that some benefit was gained.

‘‘I have to view it positively, we are getting some sort of benefit back out there for consumers and businesses in the CBD for Christmas that will allow them now to come in and utilise it ... it’s better than paying the other rates,’’ he said.

He said the Alliance would continue to talk to council about the enormous variances in parking charges around the city. For example,  Saturday morning parking in the East End was free but was metered in other areas. 

‘‘We need to get a more level playing field,’’ he said.   

Newcastle Now general manager Michael Neilson, who is working with council on  parking strategy, said the sticker scheme would be of some assistance.

‘‘It’s good for short-term shoppers or people stopping in to get a coffee ... it all adds up,’’ he said. 

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