Charging Blue Badge holders to park their cars is among a series of proposals being put forward by the council as it prepares to develop a new parking strategy.
Cheshire West and Chester Council is looking to invest in additional parking provision and improve the quality of current car parks to develop a fair and consistent service in the area.
Residents will have an opportunity over the next 12 weeks to share their views on the initial recommendations made by independent consultants before the new parking strategy is finalised next summer.
Preliminary findings in a draft report cover a wide range of parking issues, including supply and demand, parking locations, on and off-street parking, charging, car park quality and enforcement.
The main proposals include:
- The need to address parking pressures by exploring the feasibility of acquiring land for parking and the potential for multi-storey or decked car parks in certain locations, including at some railway stations
- Improving the quality of the council’s car parks and raising the standard of the most used car parks to the best industry standard
- Updating car park technology to provide greater choice and flexibility for customers by providing a range of payment methods; including card, phone and account payment options
- Introducing modest charges at some car parks to ensure there is sufficient, good quality, secure car parking available and to be consistent across the borough
- Introducing a range of more flexible offers as a possible alternative to current concessions such as discounts for motorists arriving before 8am and after 10am, having participating retailers refund or part-pay for parking charges, discounted evening parking, weekend discounts and offers during quiet seasonal periods
- Introducing parking charges in car parks for Blue Badge holders to contribute to parking provision and enable investment to be made to improve the size, quality and number of disabled spaces across the borough
The first of ten drop-in sessions, led by independent consultants across the borough, will begin on Tuesday, November 28 and run until Tuesday, January 24, all between 3pm and 7pm.
When? Tuesday, November 29
Where? Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HQ
When? Wednesday, November 30
Where? Northwich Memorial Court. Chester Way, Northwich, CW9 5QJ
When? Monday, December 5
Where? Ellesmere Port Library, Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BG
When? Thursday, December 8
Where? Frodsham Library, Princeway, Frodsham, WA6 6RX
Neston, Parkgate and Willaston
When? Tuesday, December 13
Where? Neston Library, Parkgate Road, CH64 6QE
Weaverham, Cuddington and Sandiway
When? Tuesday, January 10
Where? Weaverham Community Centre. Russet Road, Weaverham, CW8 3HY
When? Thursday, January 12
Where? Tesco, Chester Road, Helsby, WA6 0DJ
When? Tuesday, January 17
Where? Co-op, The Cross, Malpas, SY14 8NQ
When? Thursday, January 19
Where? Winsford Lifestyle Centre, The Drumber, Winsford, CW7 1AD
Tarporley, Tarvin and Kelsall
When? Tuesday, January 24
Where? Tarporley Community Centre, High Street, Tarporley, CW6 0AY
The council’s Cabinet member for environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “Our population and car ownership rates are steadily rising and land available for car parking is decreasing.
“Over the coming years, the council needs to find ways to invest in additional parking provision, improve the quality of car parks, support local business, manage traffic flow and reduce congestion, while at the same time protecting the environment and public health.
“There is an imbalance at the moment, as residents and businesses in some areas are paying for parking and others are not. It is important that at this stage we are only consulting on the proposals made by the independent consultants and no decisions have been made.
“They include some better alternatives to current parking concessions that will appeal to a wider range of motorists and help to cut congestion, while continuing to support businesses.
“We are seeking the views of all interested parties and we will be having conversations with groups representing the disabled to obtain their views on proposals to charge Blue Badge holders for parking which has been introduced in other areas across the country.
“I hope as many people as possible get involved in this consultation and share their views and ideas.”