Controversial parking fees could be introduced at Wirral complexes


Parking fees could be imposed in a number of resort towns in Wirral, despite plans previously suspended after a backlash.

A meeting of the city council’s environment, climate emergencies and transport committee will discuss a range of options to increase parking revenues in the borough next Monday.

A report produced before the meeting recommends councilors to choose from measures including increases of up to £ 1.50 for all fares or the introduction of standardized district-wide parking charges.

Alternative proposals include income generation by introducing parking fees in parts of the seaside resorts and coastal towns in the district.

The report says council is expected to generate at least £ 1million in savings under the 2021/22 annual budget through “additional and increased parking charges and a full-scale parking review” which could include a mix of options, including the introduction of new charges. in various places.

Alternative proposals include the introduction of charges for off-street parking which is currently free in Bromborough, Bebington, Irby, Hoylake and New Brighton, and new on-street charges in city centers, notably in New Brighton, West Kirby, Hoylake, Heswall and Moreton. .

The introduction of parking charges in coastal areas is another proposed measure, although the report states that measures to introduce new charges are unlikely to be implemented until at least January 2022 due to the implications. legal and practical, including the requirement for public consultation and capital investment.

When plans to introduce parking fees in the region’s coastal parks were presented three years ago, they proved to be very controversial.

A petition opposing the introduction of the charges and a public consultation process was signed by 16,000 people.

Plans to develop on-street parking charges in coastal towns in the region have been dropped while charges of 50p up to one hour in coastal parks have been implemented.

The introduction of new parking charges at Wirral’s coastal parks sparked controversy when they were rolled out three years ago.

The report produced for Monday’s meeting indicates that while there is often the perception that businesses will suffer from a decrease in footfall due to the introduction of parking fees, the findings of a recent study conducted for the Welsh government have indicated that the evidence is “almost entirely anecdotal. “

He says: “Visitors to city centers suggested that parking fees had an impact on the length of their stay in the center and, therefore, on the amount they spent there. However, the general availability of places is seen by visitors as more important than the cost. in their overall decision to visit.

“While a ‘global’ free parking strategy was suggested to encourage more parking users, it was generally found that they did not benefit target visitors (for example, spaces were mainly used by parking lots). downtown workers who occupied spaces all day, rather than shoppers) and therefore had an unexpected negative impact on attendance. “

The report also states that the measures to introduce wider parking fees in towns and resorts in the region are in line with the goals of bringing about a change in car use behavior for residents of the region. the region as part of its broader plans to fight the climate emergency and reduce emissions in the borough.

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Council says further steps are needed to generate the additional parking revenues agreed to at previous budget meetings to meet cost reduction requirements, which would otherwise have to come from other council budgets.

One of two district-wide measures that could be implemented includes an increase of up to £ 1.50 on each tariff or a standardization of existing charges with flat rates set for all locations.

Right now there are different parking charges at different locations in the borough, with coastal parking at 50p for up to an hour while parts of Birkenhead see a charge of £ 1.20 for up to one hour. hour of parking. Plans for a standardized hourly rate of £ 1 could create a fairer situation for Borough residents, according to reports.

The report also states that if all existing tariffs were increased by £ 1, due to the decrease in car park use due to covid, this would likely generate around £ 560,000 in the current fiscal year, with a £ 1.50 increase required for all fares. to meet the requirement for savings of one million pounds if this measure alone were used.

Parking lot usage is currently at 70% of pre-pandemic levels, with estimates suggesting it could stay at 75% through 2022, although the report notes that those numbers depend on how the situation is. with covid continues to unfold.

Any measures agreed to introduce new parking charges would be subject to a public consultation process before being implemented.


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