Decision details

Medium Term Financial Strategy - Parking Review

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Decisions:

The Committee considered the report which set out proposals on the implementation of changes to the public parking provision in Cheshire East, following statutory consultation.

 

There was an extensive debate, during which the following points were raised:

 

  • The provision of car parks was a discretionary service.
  • Cheshire East had increased parking charges only once since 2009 despite inflation increasing.
  • The proposals were seeking to address unfairness with some areas of the borough paying for parking while others did not.
  • The Council was experiencing financial challenges as a result of costs incurred in petitioning for HS2.
  • There was unprecedented demand for special educational needs provision which was affected the Council’s budget.
  • The Council was experiencing challenges as a result of high interest rates and inflation.
  • The Council was incurring costs of £400,000 for car parks that they were receiving no revenue for.
  • The proposals had responded to consultation feedback by not recommending on-street 30 minute waiting limits and retaining the ‘free after 3pm’ initiative.
  • Savings would need to be met from other services if these proposals were not approved.
  • There was evidence of other towns within the borough, such as Nantwich, not being negatively impacted by parking charges.

 

During the debate, amendments to recommendations 1-11 were proposed and seconded which sought to include the following wording:

 

That a half hour tariff should be available in at least one car park in each town or parish in the borough.

 

That pre-paid tickets should be usable on all Cheshire East car parks.

 

The proposer and seconder of the recommendations agreed to accept the amendments, subject to the latter including the wording that ‘this recommendation is added to the work programme as a matter requiring urgent attention’.

 

The amendments therefore became part of the substantive motion.

 

Following debate on the substantive recommendations, these were put to the vote and recommendations 1 – 11 were carried by majority.

 

During the debate on recommendations 12 – 16 an amendment was proposed and seconded which was that:

 

that payment by cash should be retained on at least one car per town or parish.

 

The proposer and seconder of the recommendations agreed to accept the amendment.

 

The amendment therefore became part of the substantive motion.

 

Following debate on recommendations 12 – 16, these were put to the vote and recommendations 12, 14, 15 and 16 were carried by majority.

 

Recommendation 13 was lost.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Highways and Transport committee:

 

1. Consider the outcomes of the statutory consultation on proposals to extend and revise the Council’s Pay & Display parking provision with a view to ensure car parks are provided and managed more consistently and equitably throughout the Borough.

 

2. Subject to a half hour tariff being available in at least one car park in each town or parish in the borough, approve the introduction of changes to the Councils parking regime, in accordance with the measures defined in Appendix 3 of this report and authorise the Director of Governance and Compliance to make all necessary arrangements to bring into effect the recommendations.

 

3. Note that a series of mitigation measures have been identified to manage any potential displacement of car parking as a result of these changes. Members are advised that these measures are expected to require further statutory consultation prior to the making of relevant Traffic Regulation Order. As such ward councillors and town/parish councils will be consulted as part of these procedures.

 

4. Authorise the Director of Highways and Infrastructure to monitor the impact of these changes, commence the necessary statutory consultations and implement these mitigation measures where there is evidence of a need to do

so. Monitoring will take place before and after the implementation of new parking charges to assess any impacts arising.

 

5. Authorise the Executive Director of Place to engage and agree devolution of any car parks to Town and Parish Councils, where they have expressed a willingness to pursue this option, noting that these negotiations will be pursued so that Cheshire East Council is neither better nor worse off than if proposals for car parking charges were implemented. Otherwise, in circumstances where a car park is underutilised and demand can be met in other facilities, arrange for the closure and disposal of car parks. Subject to approval, town and parish

councils will be informed of these opportunities to ensure they may fully consider these options.

 

6. Agree that the legacy arrangement to refund parking costs for users of Crewe and Nantwich leisure centres be terminated, to ensure consistency with other Council leisure centres.

 

7. Authorise the Executive Director of Place to review parking charges annually in future years as part of the annual review of Fees and Charges. These reviews will take account of annual inflation and other relevant factors, and Committee will be notified of future changes in advance of a statutory consultation period.

 

8. Agree that proposals relating to the future provision of staff and member parking permits be subject to consultation with staff, members and representative bodies as part of updating the Council’s Corporate Travel Plan.

 

9. Note that the initial trial of demand-responsive parking tariffs will commence following the opening of the new Royal Arcade MSCP in Crewe.

 

10. Note the implementation plan for these proposals, which is designed to provide the maximum timely contribution to the MTFS outcomes.

 

11. Subject to decisions on the earlier recommendations in the report, approve a Supplementary Capital Estimate to provide for the costs of extending pay and display parking provision and associated mitigation measures, which are estimated to be £0.9m. This will be funded by prudential borrowing and repaid through service budgets.

 

11a. That the possibility of pre-paid tickets being  usable on all Cheshire East car parks be added to the work programme for further consideration on 4 April 2024.

 

12. That payment by cash should be retained on at least one car per town or parish Pay & Display car parks. Users will have the options to pay by card, phone or contract parking permit purchase at all other car parks. Removing the need to collect cash payments will reduce operating costs (cash collection) by circa £100,000 annually. Mindful that cash payments are a high proportion of parking transactions in Cheshire East, typically over 40% of total payments; consideration of moving to cashless payment should take account of the progress of the National Parking Platform (NPP). This is intended to provide a consistent parking App for users nationwide. Timing a transition to cashless to coincide with NPP will enable the Council to draw on promotional, awareness-raising media supporting the national initiative.

 

13. Revoking the offer of “4 free days” that is currently available to town and parish councils where charges apply would increase annual revenues by £120,000 (estimated). This offer would be retained in circumstances where the town or parish council offered to fund the revenue lost by suspending parking charges for 4 days.

 

14. Introduction of a Sunday parking charge could yield additional revenues,

as follows: Option B is based on weekday parking charges being extended to Sundays which is estimated to yield £180,000 per annum (full year effect).There will be additional operational costs for enforcement cover during Sundays, in order to ensure compliance with the extended charging periods. In this regard, a flat daily charge on Sundays is preferrable as it minimises the requirement of extra enforcement patrols.

 

15. Extension of parking charges to cover evening periods (6pm to 10pm) is estimated to yield annual revenues of £300,000. There will be additional operational costs for enforcement cover during evenings, in order to ensure compliance with extended charging periods.

 

 

 

The meeting was adjourned for a short break.

 

Councillor P Coan left the meeting and did not return.

Publication date: 31/01/2024

Date of decision: 25/01/2024

Decided at meeting: 25/01/2024 - Highways and Transport Committee

Effective from: 08/02/2024

Accompanying Documents: