47 measures proposed to help solve Wilmslow's parking problems

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Local residents and those who work in the town are being invited to have their say on nearly 50 proposals being put forward by Cheshire East Council to help resolve the parking problems in Wilmslow.

The Council has commissioned a review to gather evidence and understanding on the current parking situation in Wilmslow. The study has assessed the need for intervention, and has recommended 47 individual measures aimed to ensure that parking capacity supports the long-term viability of Wilmslow.

A Council Spokesperson said "The aim is to develop a Parking Strategy that supports the needs of residents, visitors, businesses and people who work in Wilmslow. Taking this approach will ensure parking compliments other transport provision in the town."

The evidence used for the review included data on car park use and Penalty Charge Notices, analysis of correspondence to the Council, plus on-street parking surveys and questionnaires.

The main findings of the review were:

  • There is high demand for off-street parking. 
  • Utilisation of short-stay (under 2 hours) parking is 312% i.e. 3 or 4 tickets are sold per space, per day. 
  • Long-stay utilisation (4+ hours) is between 79% and 91%
  • There is demand for parking – short and long stay - on local roads and residential streets
  • A high number of parking violations occur at centrally-located 'hotspots' and close to off-street car parks in Wilmslow.

A set of possible high-level interventions have been identified. These include:

  • Convert some long-stay car parks/spaces into short-stay spaces
  • Convert some short-stay spaces/car parks into long-stay parking
  • Remove existing parking restrictions from residential areas, where they are unnecessary
  • Introduce parking restrictions in residential areas, where they are needed
  • Introduce parking restrictions on main roads to reduce parking obstructions
  • Introducing charges for on-street parking spaces
  • Develop Park and Stride facilities
  • Develop Park and Ride facilities
  • Introduce Residents Parking Permit schemes
  • Increase / extend car park charges at existing car parks
  • Build additional car-parking spaces at existing car parks
  • Build additional car-parking spaces at a new car park

A Council Spokesperson said "A mix of these options will be needed to address parking pressures in Wilmslow. Due to the high demand for parking, it may be preferable for measures to be phased so that no parking is removed overall. Also, measures may best be phased to avoid parking problems being displaced from one street to another."

At this stage, measures have been indicated at 47 locations across Wilmslow, including decking on Broadway Meadow, providing additional spaces for long-stay at The Carrs, double yellow lines on Alderley Road from the Coach and Four to the King's Arms roundabout and introducing short stay parking bays on Buckingham Road, South Oak Lane, Altrincham Road and Lacey Green.

Other suggestions include double yellow lines on sections of Gravel Lane, Bedalls Lane, Knutsford Road, Manchester Road, Bourne Street, Nursery Lane, Stoney Lane,Nightingale Close, Leesway, Beech Lane, Lindfield Estate North, Alma Lane, Pownall Road, Chapel Lane, Hough Lane, New Street, Northward Road, Westward Road and a number of junctions across the town.

The introduction of residential parking permits are proposed for Old Road, River Street and Cliff Road.

Click here to view a table providing short descriptions of each measure.

Click here to view a pap showing all locations across Wilmslow.

Click here to read the full Wilmslow Parking Review report.

Residents, businesses, commuters and visitors are invited to consider the options identified so far by emailing Wilmslowparking@cheshireeast.gov.uk

This consultation runs for 6 weeks from today (Wednesday 30 January).

Tags:
Car Parking Review, Parking, Parking
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Richard Slater
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 4:00 pm
1. Stop giving planning permission for more offices when there are stacks available to let.
2. Stop giving planning permission for office blocks without parking.
Sam Cummings
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 4:02 pm
From what I can tell the majority of the daily parking problem is due to people who work in Wilmslow who have nowhere to park; rather than folks just popping into town for a shop. That might not be right, but a lot of the cars parked down the main road and on residential roads (even as far up as Lacey Green road) are the same each and every day.

Surely the best way to solve this is to develop a parking structure or lot which is designated for wilmslow workers only?
Howard Piltz
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 4:10 pm
The Council are to be congratulated for coming up with sound plans but NOT so for the length of time it has taken. Richard Taylor’s comments above need serious consideration as does a blanket ban on parking in ALL Wilmslow in excess of say three hours other than residents showing an appropriate permit.
James Hanson
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 4:47 pm
I agreed with Howards sentiment - a fair report given the options for the council,

There are some things maybe missed out and the survey did seam a little limited in time and scope and given local knowledge appears to miss some conclusions about people parking habits - we know that many of the on-street parking is from workers and maybe commuters.

We have to be award that some of these suggestions will basically move the problem rather than fix them - but given the limited budgets available to the council seams fair for now.

We await the roll out of the solutions and see what occurs from then .....
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 5:16 pm
Easy solution for me. Don’t go to Wilmslow but use Macclesfield instead. Parking is irritating enough there too but it’s better than Wilmslow.
John Featherstone
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 5:35 pm
you need a double decker car park building at Sainsburys car park, also a larger one near the leisure centre or even a triple decker????? job done doubled or trebled your car parking space
Ade Whitaker
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 6:06 pm
A lot of the options have "Parking displacement affects other areas". I think a lot of people believe that this is exactly what will happen when restrictions are put in place. The measures of increasing or introducing new parking charges will just make things worse. It is already very expensive to pay for parking every day - £875 for an annual pass at Spring Street. So - how would increasing parking charges even more help? It's a big chunk out of your net salary and completely unaffordable for lower paid workers. So - I can understand why workers prefer to park for free and walk - and they will continue to do this no matter how far they have to walk. So - we will just end up with a new set of residents wanting a parking review of their streets in a few month's time. I agree with @Sam - a better solution for workers is required. Maybe "park and ride" is the answer - if somewhere could be found, it was free and the "ride" part was very regular (e.g. every 5 mins over a large period of the day - e.g. 7am->7pm). It's hard to see anything like this getting implemented with the current pressure on council budgets.

"Coming to Wilmslow" by other means seems to be a popular theme. Shame the bus service has been pretty much eliminated then. Public transport is not really a viable alternative unless you happen to live near one of the train stations on our lines.
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 6:34 pm
I don't pretend to know the answer. However, I do agree with Richard stop building office blocks. The problem with parking for shoppers is if the parking charges are too expensive they will just use places like Handforth Dean where it is free.
Mark Jackson
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 6:46 pm
Couldnt Car Sharing be part of the solution, perhaps provide some incentive for those driving in to share their journey ? all the cars I see being abandoned in an inconvenient place have had one occupant, they all tend to arrive and leave at similar times and I suspect a lot will come from the same places.

Perhaps offer a parking discount for cars with more than one person in. I know there are websites for this out there for this, or one could easily be set up, there are perhaps also options for people to rent out their driveways or other spare space.

There is always the selection of road cones plonked on the offending cars roof option but that doesn't seem to be working.
Martin Duguid
Wednesday 30th January 2019 at 10:25 pm
A comprehensive if long overdue survey, but there is no mention on the map showing all locations of the 'Park & Ride' suggested in the narrative. Although a high cost option, this would offer the double advantage of extra parking and reducing the number of vehicles in the town centre. If located on the east side of the A34 a 'Park and Ride' could also serve Alderley Edge. I agree with Ade that such a service would have to be frequent to be viable. However, it couldn't possibly be a free service as capital and running costs would have to be offset to some extent. Parking rates at a slightly lower cost than town car parks would make this an attractive option.
Jon Newell
Thursday 31st January 2019 at 6:27 am
Integrated thinking and planning is needed.

We took the decision years ago to encourage office development in Wilmslow. At this time, the planners were actively discouraging the use of cars by restricting the number of car parking spaces to just a handful. This was the official policy and it helped that it was far more profitable to build office space than car parks.

This policy was set when we still had reliable public transport which operated late into the evening and on weekends. The trains are still ok (Northern labour problems excepted) but only if the traveller lives near a train station. The stations were largely established before the car was invented, let alone in regular use, so no station has an fully adequate car park.

The answer needs to reflect the changing world and needs radical thinking. This must be a proper investment in a park and ride.

Yes - it will require significant investment but better that than perpetual tinkering.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 31st January 2019 at 10:55 am
Looking on Bing Maps at the aerial photo view there appears to be around 86 parking spaces at the Police Station. I looked through the gate on a week-day in December and there were four cars, that I could see (more may have been around the back).
As the adjacent Fire Station has been deemed to be over-size for it's current function, would it not be possible to move the few remaining Police Staff into the extra space in the Fire station; knock down the unfit for purpose Police Station and build a multi-storey and flat car parks on this huge site?
Stuart Nixon
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 9:20 am
Parking to the rear of Heald Court, Hawthorn Lane, Wilmslow

It has been interesting to read the comments on parking in Wilmslow and especially the offer of a privately funded site off Hawthorn Lane. I have looked at this and the wider implications of the Council’s current approach.

The site behind Heald Court has been vacant for more than 20 years, despite being allocated for housing in the past. The site, along with the surrounding land, was included in the Hawthorn Lane Conservation Area in the 1990s and has had no productive and minimal beneficial use during this time. It is not in the Green Belt as suggested by some.

Paragraph 195 of the National Planning Policy Framework says that harm or loss to or of a designated asset, such as a Conservation Area, can be outweighed by the public benefits of bringing the site back into use. The accepted crisis in the parking offer in Wilmslow provides a compelling benefit in the public interest.

In this case, the site is not visible from any public vantage point and, although the character would change, the increased activity would be offset by the reduction in on street traffic movement with drivers searching for a vacant parking space. In effect, the character change within the wider Conservation Area would be neutral, if not beneficial. As such, the harm to the Conservation Area would be markedly less than substantial, allowing this to be outweighed by the public benefit.

At worst, the current benefit of the site, as an undeveloped plot, is largely ecological, and it has been agreed in the past by the Council’s Officer responsible that this aspect of its value could be actively mitigated, such that development of the site would be acceptable.

However, in this instance, the proposal for car parking would address a public parking problem accepted as having reached crisis proportions, and at little or no cost to the public purse. It would address a problem occasioned by economic success in the Wilmslow area, coupled with a continuing reduction in public transport opportunities and commercial development having been permitted with levels of car parking well below demand.

Even if businesses are not deterred by the scarcity of parking from moving to Wilmslow, the ensuing on street parking is visual intrusive in and around the Town Centre including the Conservation Area and presents a safety hazard for other road users and especially pedestrians. It also increases congestion on Town Centre and residential roads with the accompanying rise in air pollution. To illustrate this point, when the Manchester City Centre parking surveys were undertaken, it was shown that over one third of drivers were looking for a parking space.

In summary, any small degree of harm to the character of the Conservation Area is far outweighed by the public benefit, which amounts to a clear and convincing justification to promote the off street parking opportunity for more than 80 cars. Thus, the proposal would sustain the heritage assets, while not materially affecting the contribution it makes to the environmental, but putting the land to a viable public use.

Moving on to the brief issued by CEC to the appointed Consultant, no professional assessment can avoid including both private and public parking sites. Assessments of this nature must include all opportunities and then apply a criteria based sieve. Looking at whether a planing permission would be gained as the first hurdle runs counter to accepted planning process. In housing land availability assessments, all available vacant sites are included, whether in public or private ownership and then these are put out for consultations, most commonly before any sieve is applied.

Next, it seems to be accepted that the parking ‘crisis’ arises as a direct consequence of the dearth of daily or long stay parking. On this basis, It is difficult to see how the existing and proposed private parking and the demands of business can be ignored. To do so give no estimate of the shortfall and the scale of and urgency for further provision. In particular, it is an essential prerequisite to an holistic survey that the existence of Travel Plans and monitoring details are studied, as well as the opportunities for voluntary Travel Plans to be retrofitted. In London boroughs, on drive parking is encouraged for commuters in town centres and close to transport nodes.

It would seem that very little income is generated by the Council’s existing parking provision and so input from the private sector and purse will be essential for there to be an overall increase in the Parking resource.

Finally, it is proven fact that the removal of on street parking opportunity, by the introduction of parking restrictions or other traffic management measures, without an equivalent provision of an alternative off street facility, merely leads to more traffic searching for fewer spaces, with the corresponding increase in congestion and worsening of air quality.

To conclude, the brief handed to its Consultant by the Council is not comprehensive or holistic. As it stands, the assessment being undertaken would merely kick the can a little further down the road. The site to the rear or Heald Court is one of very few if not the only possibility for new off street parking opportunities. All the other ones cited seem only to manage existing public resources in a different way, but do not create anything new. Against this, CEC would be well advised to grab the opportunity at Heald Court with both hands.
Gillian Slater
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 8:48 pm
Agree to the above Pete Taylor
Alan Brough
Thursday 7th February 2019 at 2:55 pm
I also think that Pete Taylors idea has great merit.

The land is completely under-utilised, is in Council (public) ownership and is perfectly located to provide a large number of parking spaces, close to the town centre.

Could any of our Ward Councillors perhaps comment on how the idea might be advanced?