New charges at a Chelmsford car park will be cheaper than first thought now that the city council has agreed to introduce a "complicated" fee structure.

Chelmsford City Council leaders said the new fees at Hylands Park would help to balance the books after Covid-19 and make parking fairer for drivers.

The city's cabinet agreed to a new one-hour charge, annual season ticket option for non-residents and a seven-day permit option for Chelmsford residents after two separate rounds of consultation.

Councillors agreed that a one-hour stay will cost £2 for residents and £3.35 for drivers who live outside the city.

Parking for more than an hour will cost £3 for residents and £5 for non-residents.

Five and seven-day annual season tickets for non-residents will cost £6.75 and £8.25 each month respectively.

Chelmsford residents may add a second car for £1.35 per month for five-day parking - a total £16.20 each year - or £1.80 per month for seven days, which amounts to £21.60 per year.

Chelmsford City Council hopes the charges will raise £1.7 million.

But more than £2m in total is needed if the council is on course to balance the budget.

Councillor Chris Davidson, cabinet member for finance, defended the charges at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday October 12.

He said: "The figure of over £2m that we needed to make in expenditure cuts and increased charges, including the Hylands charge for this year, will only halve the gap.

"There is still a £1.7m gap to make up before we can present a balanced budget next year.

"That number changes over time as things happen.

"While I understand people saying they don't want to see parking charges at Hylands, it's not enough."

Conservative opposition group leader, Cllr Roy Whitehead, said the charges are too complicated.

He said: "It is still pretty complicated for the poor souls who go there to actually pay the thing.

"I think we need to try to simplify it."

Council leader Stephen Robinson said the scheme would be fair to residents.

He said: "We have made it more complicated.

"But fairer is often more complicated."