Cheshire East Council hasn’t priced up the costs of introducing charges on its free car parks – including having to buy and install meters.
The council is currently consulting with the public on proposals to introduce charges on most of its free car parks and to hike up the fees on most of those which already have pay and display.
But, when the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the council this week how much it would cost to buy and install the meters and to upgrade any free car parks so charges could be imposed, it was told not all the costings have been done.
In a statement, Cllr Craig Browne (Ind), chair of the highways and transport committee, said: “The council’s public consultation on proposed changes to the borough’s parking arrangements is currently live and does not close until November 1.
“The feedback received during this consultation will be considered as part of the parking review process and will inform the final proposals that are developed.
“As such, no procurement exercise has been carried out – or started – in respect of parking meters, nor have full costings been obtained regarding any potential improvements to car parks in the borough.
“Final proposals for parking arrangements in the borough will be considered by the council’s highways and transport committee in January 2024.”
The council is consulting on proposals which could see charges introduced on about 30 free car parks.
Opposition leader Janet Clowes (Con) believes the consultation is premature and the highways committee should consider signing up to the national parking platform (NPP) – a local authority owned and Department for Transport funded pilot project which, according to its website, ‘brings customer experience into the 21st century by facilitating data exchange, digital payments, and a new way of delivering better parking and mobility services’.
Cllr Clowes told the LDRS: “Having examined the [Cheshire East] consultation documents, I’m concerned that I have been unable to find any details about the infrastructure costs for each of the car parks, which are an important financial measure that should be set against any future action – by that I mean the maintenance of the surfaces, the lines, staffing and of course the ticket machines themselves.
“But I think, what disappoints me more than anything, is that this consultation is taking place in advance of any debate regarding the national parking platform, which I raised as a notice of motion at full council over two months ago.
“It seems premature to be asking residents, through a consultation, for their comments about car parking before this important initiative has even been discussed because, if taken on board, this has real beneficial effects for the council in terms of their future parking strategy and, of course, that relates to the costs involved.”
The Cheshire East parking consultation runs until November 1 and the proposals can be viewed here https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/parking_consultation
Representations to the proposals must be emailed to: email@example.com