Council consultation on plans to standardise parking charges scrapped

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Plans to consult the public over proposals to introduce standardised parking tariffs across the borough and generate over £1.2m in additional income have been thrown out by the highways committee.

Cheshire East Council was also proposing to introducing parking charges in the following eight towns and villages where parking is currently free: Alsager, Bollington, Handforth, Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, Prestbury, Poynton and Sandbach.

This would have resulted in charges being introduced in the library/medical centre car park, School Road car park and Wilmslow Road car park in Handforth.

Additionally, parking charges were proposed at 4 other car parks which are currently free, including the one on Ryleys Lane in Alderley Edge.

A Sunday parking charge was also set to be introduced in Council-managed car parks which would be applicable between 8am and 6pm, including Bank Holidays. A 30 mins tariff of 30p would apply along with a maximum tariff of £1 for stays of over one hour. (The charges were modified from the original proposals because 88% of 3783 respondents to a survey carried out in the Autumn of 2020 disagreed with Sunday parking charges).

However, Cheshire East Council's highways and transport committee decided not to give the green light for a consultation at their meeting on Tuesday, 21st September, with members voting by eight votes to five against.

Councillor Barry Burkhill, who voted in favour of the consultation said "No decisions were to be made yesterday and the support for the public consultation in no way implied that the committee supported any changes. It was to discover the public's view about parking and charging, which has historical differences between the three former Boroughs making up Cheshire East Borough Council. It was an attempt to try to standardise fairly, parking charges across the Borough."

He added "My own view, besides looking at the bigger picture, is that if standardised charging was to be brought about, then there must be dedicated parking places available on car parks to ensure enough free spaces are available for two hours so that people can shop or visit the hairdressers etc. There would be no Sunday charging or any charges for evening or overnight parking.

"It was important to hear what the public said to us about our car parks which have to be maintained and about on street parking to see if any changes could be suggested and supported. We are in a very different regime now at CEC, where the public are listened to and not ignored in any consultation and so I supported this in the vote. However the motion was defeated and so the status quo will remain as it is."

Councillor Don Stockton, who voted against the consultation, said "Taking a one size fits all "Zonal" approach to decide pricing in order to "Standardise" is not a sound policy.

"The people of Wilmslow took part in the Wilmslow Parking Review which not only took account of both on street and off street parking. It was attended and replied to by many residents and businesses. This consultation in my opinion was enough and the Council did not need to have an additional consultation in order to hear those views again. Let's talk it to death rather than make decisions and do something on the ground, seems to be the way of this Labour led council.

"As a result of the review, a business case is being/has been put together to create more parking on Broadway Meadow, but whether this will ever occur, is anyone's guess. Displacement parking outside residential housing has long been an issue and the Wilmslow Parking Review sought to address this. It took account of the obvious fact that that charging affects where people park and was specific to Wilmslow. It also took into account the public's view on whether we should be "nudged" into using other forms of transport cycle lanes buses. All in all it attempted to take into account the whole rather than the part."

He added "In my view the proposed borough consultation would have taken no account of this and was fixated on a "zonal approach" to parking. Even though the Wilmslow Parking Review was not perfect it was able to take account of business employees residents in fact everyone who wishes Wilmslow to remain a vibrant town of choice for people to live and work.

"Parking charges should primarily be determined by the use or otherwise of carparks and take into account the restrictions around them and of residents and visitors and business views alike. Not easy, but at least it was attempted in Wilmslow and should be implemented here and rolled out across the Borough. Local people know the problems they face zones are for the birds."

Sam Corcoran, Labour Leader of the Council, said "We have moved to a committee system, which encourages debate and the involvement of more backbench councillors in decision making. I have listened to the discussions at the committee and will take all those views on board."

Had the proposals been approved by the committee, the council would have held a 30-day consultation starting at the end of September 2021. Following the conclusion, final recommendations would then have gone before a meeting of the council's highways and transport committee for a decision. The intention was that any changes to parking would not come into force before January 2022.

Tags:
Car Parking Review
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Comments

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

Sandy Martin
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 2:44 pm
Well done
David Smith
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 2:59 pm
What should be standardised are the parking meter machines. I don't know what they are like across the borough and can only bring to mind Wilmslow and Knutsford - which are not the same. Got caught out once when I thought parking in Knutsford was free after 1800hrs like in Wilmslow. They also used to have free for one hour - so in a way some sort of standardisation, if not on parking rates, would be sensible.
I'm in favour of keeping them cash for payment even if it might have a surcharge.
I did use the machines at Macclesfield hospital last week and they are dreadfully user unfriendly - nothing like any machine I've used before. They are just too 'smart' and tell you information that can easily be misunderstood. They'd be ok if you could read a user manual before parking up. I guess they might not be Cheshire East machines though - perhaps NHS ones. Speaking of which it's dreadful that NHS staff have to pay to park when at work.
It does seem rather odd that there is free parking in parts of the centre of Wilmslow [Sainsbury's to the BP petrol station for example] and then just round the corner behind Hoopers and by Sainsbury's you have to pay. It's not as if the free parking is reserved for the less well-off motorists and the wealthier amongst us have to pay, so think it should all be the same in town in that respect.
BIG WHINGE: the machines by Sainsbury's in Wilmslow are difficult to read the alphabet and numbers when entering a registration. All the paint has worn away - so a poor design in that respect.
Rick Andrews
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 3:13 pm
Unbelievable - why should the residents who pay for parking subsidise free parking elsewhere. Presumably the councillors believe there are no maintenance costs for the free car parks. CEC proves yet again that they regard some parts of the area as a cash cow. I pay to park and visit Wilmslow library. The fact that others do not pay to park to attend their local library or shops means that I am being penalised. Time for an independent review of the legality via central government. As usual the CEC decision is illogical and driven by vote seeking self serving attitudes. Are we really in a “different regime, where the public are listened to”. Yes, and then we are ignored.
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 4:19 pm
Much has been written about phone consultations and how disadvantageous it is for patients. Cheshire East seems intent on promoting this with the suggestion that Handforth Library car park should be a fee paying car park. 90% of the people who use this car park are visiting the Doctors' surgery - a lot of them very elderly. I would state here that I have never had a problem obtaining an appointment to see a Doctor.
Yvonne Howson
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 4:32 pm
I totally agree with you Rick Andrews. So the current free car parks in other towns remain free, whilst we in Wilmslow have to pay 70p per hour to visit or shop here. It's so unfair. The Council need to realise Wilmslow is not full of millionaires and I don't see why there isn't a flat rate across the county. It makes you want to shop in these other towns.
David Smith
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 6:01 pm
Also - there is a cost of having free car parking when it is time limited. To stop anyone staying there all day or week whilst going off by train or plane the vehicles need to be checked by a Community Enforcement Officer [traffic warden to many of us] who don't work for nothing.
You are quite right Yvonne; Wilmslow isn't full of millionaires - only half full. If having cheaper parking in other towns in Cheshire is enough to encourage you to shop there, you won't have to go far to spend the money you'll save on car parking on the extra fuel in order to get there and back!
Rick Andrews
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 7:44 pm
Really @David Smith , do you know how much it costs in real terms to drive a car to a different town. Taking account of maintenance, fuel, tyre and brake wear it is around 40 pence per mile minimum. You have to be joking to say I could save by driving to another car park. The whole issue is about fairness. And your comment about the number of millionaires just demonstrates your lack of social awareness and the many people living in Wilmslow and surviving on minimum or no wage. Do you know how many people rely on food banks? Yes there are some affluent people but also many who struggle to survive. Your only accurate comment is that it costs the council to manage a car park even if parking is free. We are paying for that via Council Tax.
David Smith
Wednesday 22nd September 2021 at 9:22 pm
Rick Andrews:
Of course I know the cost of running a car! Read again what I have written. I have not said Yvonne could SAVE by driving somewhere the parking is cheaper - I have actually made the point that to do so would cost her MORE than the 70p she would save by NOT parking in Wilmslow.
You are typical of too many bloggers who don't pay attention to what someone says and shoot from the hip with an incorrect reply - probably via your mobile phone.
My comment about being 'half full' of millionaires has nothing to do with a lack of social awareness/food banks/and low wages. It is a play on her own words of not being FULL of millionaires and actually makes the point that there are plenty of residents in this neck of the woods who are wealthy - that's ALL. If you doubt my social awareness then see my comments at this link -

https://www.alderleyedge.com/news/article/21651/council-to-change-winter-gritting-routes?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter1314

- as to what the more wealthy residents of Alderley Edge could be doing if they want to make their village a better place for everyone. A suggested emergence of 'altruism' perhaps?
Also why do you presume I have social media presence by using '@David Smith’.
I don't have ANY social media 'membership' - I have better things to do with my time but happy to have my say on some of the issues that concern the place where I live.
Rick Andrews
Thursday 23rd September 2021 at 7:46 pm
David Smith, I am not a blogger, just wanting to see equality of parking charges across the CEC area. I checked your comprehensive comments via the link. Lots to debate there but the minority of wealthier people in CEC are likely paying more in Council Tax and Income tax than the majority. Bottom line is that CEC is incompetent and does not respect its residents views. And yes I am using a phone - is that a problem?
Jonathan Follows
Friday 24th September 2021 at 9:16 am
Macclesfield Hospital is private land, nothing to do with the council, and the operation of its car parks is subcontracted to Parking Eye, who pocket all the money they can from people who don't comply with its rules for parking and are "fined" (actually invoiced).
David Smith
Friday 24th September 2021 at 10:09 am
Thanks Jonathan for the confirmation. I thought as much and can well believe the tough manner by which the car park is operated.

RICK ANDREWS:
Anyone who regularly posts comments on social media sites can be regarded as a 'blogger' and since you've made several already I think that includes you.
Using the small screen on a mobile phone makes it easy to send a comment without checking what has been composed - type and send. Using a bigger screen as on a tablet or computer helps. I would suggest composing a comment in 'word' on a computer, giving it a good read and correcting any smelling pistakes before sending.
If you had done this you might have noticed your strange statement about the "...wealthier people in Cheshire East Council [CEC]..."
You can also have any opinion you like about the likes of CEC but perhaps in the same posting, or a future one, at least join the discussion, expand your views and the rest of us can then decide how accurate they might be.
If car parking cost the same in a really good town as in a really naff place you might think to visit the better one and so the not-so-good one that really might need the custom will lose out.
Don't forget that our town has to consider the out of town destinations like Handforth Dean, Cheadle [John Lewis] and the Trafford Centre which all have free parking to attract the likes of Yvonne.
Audrey Youngman
Friday 24th September 2021 at 12:11 pm
Jonathan Fellows has actually answered what I was thinking. People have the choice of whether they park where there are meters and the those visiting a doctors surgery do not. I had wondered if there were any parking meters at Doctors surgeries.
Rick Andrews
Friday 24th September 2021 at 12:16 pm
So by that definition all who comment on this site are bloggers, including David. And, yes we can all have opinions, and as far as I can see on my tiny screen there are no rules about what we can or cannot write. Thanks for your many interesting contributions.
A final thought - does what we say here really have any impact or effect?
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 7:30 pm
The people of Wilmslow DO NOT have to pay 70p per hour to visit or shop here. There is free one-hour on-street parking right across the town centre. There is also free 2 hour parking at Waitrose.

They could even choose to walk, cycle, get a taxi or go by bus.
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 8:23 pm
David Smith

I don't know how many "Millionaires" there are in Wilmslow but I would suggest that it's far less than half of the residents.

There are approx 11,500 residential dwellings in the parish of Wilmslow and approx 1150 of these are on the Coleshaw Farm Housing Estate. This area is classified as being in the 3rd tier (out of 10). Lacey Green area is in the 6th tier, Tudor Green off Dean Row Road in the 7th tier, and the remaining areas of Wilmslow in the 10th tier.

See https://tinyurl.com/8395kzv2
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 8:25 pm
David Smith

I would consider that "You are typical of too many bloggers who don't pay attention to what someone says and shoot from the hip with an incorrect reply".
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 8:42 pm
Audrey Youngman

I don't understand your comment about those visiting a doctor's surgery not having a choice where they park.

In Wilmslow, there are two NHS registered GP (Doctors) surgeries. They are the Medical Centre on Chapel Lane and Kenmore Medical Practice on Alderley Road. Both have free on-site parking for patients and there is also free on-street parking immediately adjacent to both of them (Albert Road, Chapel Lane, and Bedells Lane).

in Handforth, there are two NHS registered GP (Doctors) surgeries. They are the Medical Centre and Hulme Hall Practise. Both have free on-site parking for patients.

In Alderley Edge there is one NHS registered GP (Doctors) surgery. It too has free on-site parking for patients.

Please clarify what you mean by "those visiting a doctors surgery do not."
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 9:01 pm
David Smith

My opinion is that your comment on AE.com has got nothing to do with "social awareness".

Social Awareness is defined as: "The concept of social awareness is fairly simple; it's a person's ability to consider the perspectives of other individuals, groups, or communities, and apply that understanding to interactions with them."

Source: https://tinyurl.com/jxcfwjr4

I do not believe that we have met and I do not know you, but you, like me, routinely comment on articles on this site and AE.com. In my opinion, you do not appear to demonstrate the attributes of someone with social awareness. But I could be completely wrong and you are entitled to hold a different opinion to mine.
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 9:24 pm
Jonathan Follows

A correction: Macclesfield Hospital is NOT private land. It's public land owned by a public body (ie NHS England).

So it's just like CEC land. ie owned by a public body.

Any public body that owns land can choose whether to make it available to the public for parking at no cost (ie free), or to charge for parking. They can also decide the level of that charge.

NHS England lease the land on which Macclesfield Hospital stands to East Cheshire NHS Trust (ECNHST) who operates the hospital.

ECNHST is a registered charity (Charity number: 1059228).

ECNHST has set the level of the parking charges.

ECNHST has also chosen to appoint "Parking Eye" (a private company) to manage car parking on their behalf.
Stuart Redgard
Friday 24th September 2021 at 9:29 pm
A correction to my previous post: (IN CAPS)

David Smith

I don't know how many "Millionaires" there are in Wilmslow but I would suggest that it's far less than half of the residents.

There are approx 11,500 residential dwellings in the parish of Wilmslow and approx 1150 of these are on the Coleshaw Farm Housing Estate. This area is classified as being in the 3rd tier (out of 10) ON THE INDEX OF MULTIPLE DEPRIVATION INDEX. Lacey Green area is in the 6th tier, Tudor Green off Dean Row Road in the 7th tier and the remaining areas of Wilmslow in the 10th tier.

See https://tinyurl.com/8395kzv2
Audrey Youngman
Saturday 25th September 2021 at 12:53 pm
Stuart. The proposal was to have meters at Handforth library which also incorporates the Doctors surgery. I merely raised the point that I think it is ill advised to have meters at a Doctors surgery.
Fred Rayers
Sunday 26th September 2021 at 9:57 am
@Audrey, Maybe, but you could also argue that as other surgeries provide car parking for there patients (e.g Wilmslow ones), it is not really up to CEC to subsidise it in a particular case. Maybe the surgery could refund people car parking charges in the same way that some shops do.

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