Car parking fees will be extended to the current CEC “free” municipalities
Parking fees are expected to be introduced in Middlewich, Sandbach, Alsager and other towns in East Cheshire which are currently free, writes Belinda ryan.
Sunday billing is also on the agenda, with Cheshire East planning to introduce a flat rate of £ 1 for stays over an hour in all paid parking lots owned by the Borough Council on Sundays and holidays.
In total, eight towns and villages that don’t pay to park at the moment, including Bollington, Handforth, Holmes Chapel, Poynton and Prestbury, could see fees introduced from next spring.
Councilors for Nantwich and Crewe have called the current system unfair for a number of years and called for parity as their towns face the highest burdens in the borough.
Cheshire East is expected to undertake a 30-day public consultation on the proposals at the end of this month.
A report to be presented before the Tuesday (September 21) meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee states: “For historical reasons, the borough has operated with inconsistent parking rates and pricing mechanisms, some places still offering free parking.
“These arrangements are unfair and represent a significant opportunity in relation to the revenues that could be created to support the council’s strategic transportation and highway objectives.”
The new remuneration and posting policy, if approved, will see the introduction of zonal tariffs.
Central car parks, that is, those located within 300m or a five-minute walk from the city center, will be in zone one – the highest load band – and loads will start at 40p for 30 minutes or at 80 p the first hour.
Car parks “On the edge of the center or outside the center” will be located in the cheapest zone two and the charge will be 30 pence for the first 30 minutes and 60 pence for a maximum of one hour.
The new parking policy will see drivers in all cities paying the same.
The fees only apply to parking lots belonging to the municipality.
The highest charge – for those parked between six and 10 a.m. – will be £ 5.60 in zone one and £ 3.40 in zone two.
Middlewich adviser Mike Hunter (Lab) is not happy with the new proposals.
Cllr Hunter told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “Cheshire East has a duty to seek ways to revive its inner cities.
“It also has a duty to maximize its sources of income and Cheshire East will be pressured by the government to maximize this particular source of income.
“However, I will not support any fixed price for parking lots in this arrondissement.
“I understand this could leave us in a tough spot in terms of revenue, but our city centers need to be revived and not destroyed and this parking charge will play a role in this scenario in towns like Middlewich, Holmes Chapel , Sandbach, etc.
“There are also fundamental flaws with the zoning system, as there are parking lots that appear to be in the wrong area.”
Certain car parks in certain cities would remain free.
The council says this is where they support community facilities that are not found in urban or village centers; when primarily used by residents without access to off-street parking or when there is a legal reason why charges are prohibited at a given site, such as the historic green status of Scotch Common in Sandbach.
Council agents recommend that councilors at next week’s road committee meeting approve the principle of standardized parking zones applying to parking lots in the borough and approve the principle of zone parking tariffs .
They are also being asked to approve a 30-day consultation with the public on the proposed changes.
The Roads Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Macclesfield Town Hall.
More information on the particular car parks in which zone and which ones will remain free is available by consulting the meeting calendar on the town hall website and by clicking on the link of the Highways and Transport Committee on September 21.