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Evening and Sunday parking charges to begin in Leeds

Parking charges are to be introduced to Leeds city centre on evenings and Sundays from 18 November.

The Leeds city council voted in June to introduce fees at 18:00 GMT on evenings and on Sundays in an attempt to save almost £55 million in the 2013/14 budget.

The council has introduced a flat rate of £2 to on-street spaces and at all council-operated car parks seven days a week from 18:00 to 22:00 GMT on weekdays and throughout the day on Sunday. Sunday parking charges will be introduced at £1 for up to four hours and £4 for over four hours.

Local businesses have criticised the new charges, fearing that they will deter shoppers who would otherwise choose to shop in the centre.

The local government and communities minister Brandon Lewis has described the charges as counter-productive, but a council spokesman has defended the decision to charge, suggesting that the charges will be considerably cheaper than the local private car parks.

The spokesman said: "We must find a delicate balance between managing the increasing demand for parking alongside the need to keep traffic and the economy moving and encouraging people to make the most of public transport."

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