Chester ’s car parking action plan has been unveiled giving the nitty gritty details including what will replace the popular Free after 3 discount scheme.
Cheshire West and Chester Council previously backed a 15-year borough-wide parking strategy sounding the death-knell for an initiative that has enabled shoppers to park free of charge after 3pm at certain city centre car parks.
Now the council is putting the meat on the bones about what the strategy will actually mean on the ground.
One action point is to trial ‘Free after 2’ on Park and Ride services in place of Free after 3 - but for just one day during the week.
And there will be a shock for some motorists because charges are being introduced at the free shoppers’ car park in Hoole and at high demand on street locations in Brook Street, Foregate Street and City Road.
The council aims to generate more revenue to upgrade aging car parks while contributing to the city economy by making more efficient use of its parking spaces.
Councillor Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, said: “Over the coming years, the council needs to invest in car parks so that we have enough clean and safe spaces, in the right places, with clear signage and new technology to make it easier and more convenient for people coming to Chester by car.
“With this action plan for Chester we are addressing the issues facing residents who live in areas where commuters regularly park, introducing the right offers in the right places to encourage visitors, improving disabled provision, and reducing congestion and air pollution.”
She added: “To support businesses better, and to increase the time shoppers spend in the city, we want to introduce a range of more flexible offers to encourage trade throughout the day and ease the pressure on the evening peak hour. The current ‘Free after 3 ’ scheme services a small amount of people so instead we’re bringing in a range of offers that cater for all types of people wanting to visit Chester.”
Alternative offers to Free after 3 include reduced tariffs at some car parks like the Market car park and Delamere Street, discounts for motorists arriving within certain times including in the evening and at weekends as well as offers during quiet seasonal periods.
In addition, there will be:
■ A trial ‘Free after 2pm’ on Park and Ride services on one day during the week
■ A key option is to develop a ‘spend and save’ offer where participating retailers refund or part-pay for parking charges when customers spend with them.
Changes to parking charges aim to encourage short stay parking in central city centre car parks and longer stay parking for commuters at the city’s outer facilities.
So these car parks will see:
■ Trinity Street – reduced tariff for up to two hours’ stay
■ Cuppin Street – reduced tariff for up to one hour stay
■ Market car park - cheaper for all durations
■ Delamere Street – cheaper for all durations
■ A flat rate £5 all day charge at Little Roodee and Watergate Street
Overnight charges will be implemented in some car parks with an £8 charge at the Little Roodee for between 12 and 24 hours.
On-street parking charges will be introduced in City Road, Brook Street and Foregate Street set at £1 per hour (or part hour) up to 6pm and at a flat rate of £1 after 6pm.
Length of stay restrictions operate until 6pm at all three locations. The current time restriction on City Road will be increased from one hour to a maximum of two hours and the restriction on Foregate Street will be increased from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
The action plan also sees a maximum stay of four hours introduced at Sandy Lane car park. It is also planned to introduce length of stay restrictions in nearby on-street bays.
The heavily oversubscribed Bishop Street car park in Hoole will see the introduction of ‘modest’ parking charges to help ensure shoppers can find a space by reducing the number of people parking all day. Walker Street will become a long stay car park for permit holders.
The council aims to ensure all car parks are safe and clean with enough parking for people with mobility problems, good signage and new technology to make visits easier and flexible.
Local parking provision in need of maintenance has been identified within the action plan and high priority improvements will start between January and June 2018.
Cllr Shore added: “We’re making big strides with this action plan to really invest in our car parks for the future and the fairest way to generate the income needed to make this level of investment, and contribute towards the savings the council must make, is for those who use the service and who own a car to contribute.”
The full action plan can be found by clicking on this link .
A number of Traffic Regulation Orders will be published soon detailing the plans to introduce on-street charging, and to change restrictions and tariffs and will be available to view via the same web address.
Anyone may object in writing to an order by the date specified on the notices.