Council budget includes car parking fee review

Cheshire East Councillors are looking to introduce car parking charges in all its towns.

Council members approved Cheshire East Council’s budget for 2020-21 which included a parking strategy expected to bring in an extra £1.5 million by the end of 2021-22 – with towns currently enjoying free parking, or lower-cost parking, being re-assessed.

Councillor Brian Puddicombe

Cllr Brian Puddicombe, Labour, said: “Looking at parking charges on a town-by-town basis will make it fairer across the borough. If I choose to take a car to a town centre, I expect to pay to park, but these charges should be fair.”

“The review being undertaken will enable us to ensure drivers are paying a fair charge where parking is currently free – and even to reduce charges where it is clear the charges are putting off people visiting a town centre.”

“My casework since last May can really be summed up by ‘parking, parking, parking’ – so any money spent to look to improve this will be welcomed by me.”

Car parking is currently free in some towns, such as Middlewich and Sandbach, while others have a variety of different rates.

CEC is set to conduct parking reviews on a town-by-town basis, to establish what needs to be done to make parking work for each town centre, including possible changes to parking charges.

Councillor Arthur Moran

Cllr Arthur Moran, independent, said he was ‘worried’ about the extra cash expected to come into CEC from parking.”

He said: “This means an increase in charges for those who already pay, or everybody pays, so the strategy needs to be going out to consultation before any implementation.”

Parking has long been a bone of contention in Wilmslow, with council-owned car parks often filled up with commuters by early morning. The town is the first to have its parking review conducted before last May’s election – and Cllr Craig Browne, CEC’s deputy leader, confirmed the results would be published imminently.

Councillor Don Stockton

Cllr Don Stockton, Conservative member for Lacey Green, added: “I have been deluged with enquiries from residents in my ward who, having attended consultation meetings and given their views over 12 months ago, have been expecting publication of this review.”

Wrapping up the budget debate, Cllr Amanda Stott, cabinet member for finance, ICT and communication, admitted car parking is a ‘hot topic’ – and insisted there would be plenty of opportunities for councillors to have their say on each town’s parking review.

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