CITY highway chiefs have thrown out plans for green car parking charges at a Chester park and ride.
The £2.50 charge, which would have benefited car sharers but hit people such as single commuters and pensioners who at present have free concessionary fares, was proposed at the Sealand Road park and ride.
The decision to reject the trial came after nearly an hour of public speaking and debate at the Town Hall.
The issue saw a heated protest from the public seats at one stage and ended with a named vote.
Transport planning engineer David Hughes told city and county councillors a report by the city’s parking services manager David Bennett, signed off by customer services director Sharn Matthews, was “totally inadequate, inaccurate and misleading”.
He pointed out the original intention of park and ride had been to discourage cars from the city centre and argued the charge would be “discriminatory and wrong” as it would penalise pensioners and single passengers.
He believed there would be “a massive loss to city centre businesses”.
Mr Bennett told the committee: “The trial would enable us to see if it is going to be more popular with the public.”
Pressed by County Cllr Molly Hale (Lib Dem, Hoole & Newton) he accepted that no dissatisfaction had been expressed with the present system.
County Cllr Peter Byrne (Lab, City) believed the intention of the charge to encourage people to car share was “praiseworthy” but added: “I am afraid people will not make the change.”
Chester’s executive member for customer services, Cllr Stephen Mosley (Con, Handbridge & St Mary’s) agreed that some people would pay more but added: “Sometimes that is necessary.”
The proposed parking charge led to almost 40 pages of correspondence.
Ms Matthews recommended that, despite 25 letters and two petitions, one with 365 signatures which described the cost as “absolutely disgusting”, the charge should be introduced.
Ms Matthews disclosed that some of the objections appeared to be from addresses which would not be expected to use the Sealand Road park and ride.
“This may be an indication there may be a concern that the proposals would be extended to other sites in the future,” she commented.