Macclesfield's carpark overpaying may change as committee to consider consultation on parking proposals

  Posted: 13.09.21 at 18:52 by Alexander Greensmith

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A councillor committee will consider a public consultation on parking proposals for Macclesfield and the wider borough.

It comes after our report found Macclesfield paying the most for carparks across Cheshire East.

Our article earlier this month found was a 'cashcow' for local government - but this may not last for much longer.

Cheshire East Council’s highways and transport committee is to consider giving the green light for a consultation to seek people’s views on proposals to change parking charges.

The proposed public consultation would be on measures that would deliver fairness, standardisation and transparency and are aimed at encouraging greener and ‘more active’ travel, such as walking, cycling and public transport.

The proposed changes are designed to support the vitality of our town and village centres.

Duke Street is one of Macc's eighteen paid carparks in Macc.

Macclesfield has just three free Cheshire East carparks, whereas other places have more free carparks, and less paid carparks, despite paying the same council tax.

The revenue generated from the proposals would also support the council’s strategic approach to providing continued investment in highways and transport, as laid out in the authority’s balanced medium-term financial strategy.

The main proposals before the committee are to:

● Standardise the approach to parking charges across the borough;

● Introduce parking charges in places where parking is currently free;

Pickford Street Carpark, Macclesfield. Cheshire East carparks in Macc were shut during the pandemic - and the whole borough lost three million last year due to no revenue during the three lockdowns. (Image - Melanie Butson Facebook)

● Introduce Sunday parking charges; and

● Introduce waiting restrictions at some on-street parking locations to encourage the use of car parks.

Subject to approval by the committee, the council would hold a 30-day statutory consultation on the proposals starting at the end of September 2021.

The statutory minimum consultation for such proposed changes is three weeks.

Final recommendations, following the conclusion of the consultation, would go before a meeting of the council’s highways and transport committee for decision. The intention is that any changes to parking would not come into force before January 2022.

The current proposals follow a borough-wide public engagement survey in autumn 2020 and early 2021 to test key principles and identify key issues for residents in relation to car parking.

This survey received more than 3,700 responses.

The survey found:

● 51 per cent of respondent agreed that hourly parking charges should be the same across the borough’s car parks;

● 59 per cent supported greater enforcement of illegal and inconsiderate parking;

● Support for a greater range of payments options, including cash-free payments; and

● Support for more electric vehicle charging points in council car parks.

For more information, see the highways and transport committee agenda on the council’s website.

Macclesfield's council-owned paid carparks are as follows; Christchurch, Churchill Way, Commercial Road, Duke Street, Exchange Street, Gas Road, Grosvenor Multi-storey, Hibel Road, Jordangate Multi-Storey, Macclesfield Railway Station, Old Library, Park Green, Parsonage Street, Pickford Street, Sunderland Street, Town Hall, Waters Green and Whalley Ways.

The free Macclesfield carparks are Broken Cross, Kennedy Avenue, Princes Way.

All opinions would be welcome in the consultation, with many Macclesfield Nub News readers highlighting that

Free or cheaper parking can benefit the high street by attracting more people in.

Macclesfield Nub News Facebook commenter Andy said: "I think this is a really complex thing. Carparks are to all intent and purpose a CEC owned thing that require upkeep etc and they are an age old revenue maker."

"Simply to remove charges will really hit Cheshire East Council in the pocket.

"A sensible approach would be parity across the Borough, bringing a standard charge and a standard free period."

Reader Melanie added: "Either every town has to pay, or we should all not pay."

"Charge for all day but free parking for 1 hour and free after 3pm.

"Why should Macclesfield subsidise all the town's that don't pay? It's not fair. High parking charges are killing the town centre, paired with the extortionate business rates."

Confirmation on whether you can express these, and your opinions to Cheshire East, will be revealed at an unknown date in due course.

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