THE possibility of work place charging appears to be going nowhere fast.
If introduced, businesses would be hit by charges for thousands of car park spaces with the cash raised being invested to improve public transport and solve the city's congestion problem.
But the new Tory administration at County Hall has made it clear it doesn't like the idea.
Cheshire County Council, then Labour-Lib Dem led, signed up to the Government's 'charging development partnership' to keep in touch with the latest thinking.
The council is one of 20 local authorities in the partnership, set up by the government, to set up feasibility studies in pilot areas.
Even then, the idea took second place behind the introduction of decriminalised parking in partnership with the city council.
And a new report on progress on Cheshire's local transport plan reads: 'Investigation regarding the possible introduction of charging in Chester remains at an early stage. The county council has not yet made any decisions as to whether a scheme will or will not be progressed.'
Mickle Trafford farmer David Rowlands, the Tory's new deputy leader at County Hall, said this week: 'In principle, we do not like the idea of a workplace charging levy and we are opposed to it.
'Having only been in administration a matter of weeks, we are still to take a formal view on it. A decision will be made at a later stage.'
The idea involves charging organisations and businesses for car parking spaces used by workers and visitors.
And opponents fear the charge - a figure of up to £2,000 a space was dismissed as speculation at an early stage - could drive firms out.
Cllr Rowlands last year described the idea as 'far too expensive and likely to drive people away from the city'.
He claimed that without improvements to the transport system, any moves towards work place charging could blight Chester's commercial viability 'at a time when there is considerable concern about falling visitor numbers.'
Traffic engineers point out that Chester was chosen as a potential location as it is more compact and a scheme could be more easily introduced and assessed.
But business leaders are convinced a charge would only harm their competitiveness rather than persuade people out of their cars.
Chester, Ellesmere Port and North Wales Chamber of Commerce has warmly welcomed indications from the county council that it is opposed to the principle of workplace parking and does not intend to seek approval to the introduction of a pilot scheme in Chester.
Chief executive Stephen Welch said: 'This is a common sense decision as the introduction of workplace charges would have undermined the viability of the economy of Chester and driven businesses out of the city.'