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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

CHESHIRE EAST COUNCIL: Protest against parking charges



Business owners and shopkeepers will be marching through Sandbach tomorrow (Saturday) to protest at the possible introduction of parking charges in the town.

Cheshire East Council is currently consulting on proposals to introduce charges in ‘free-parking’ towns and to revise charges – mainly upwards – in those which already pay.

Sandbach is one of the few towns in the borough which has always had free parking.

Now Cheshire East is consulting on proposals to impose charges on six of its  car parks.

This has sparked an angry backlash from traders who fear it will drive shoppers out of the town – and on Saturday (October 14) at 3pm they will be marching from the cobbles to the council’s HQ at Westfields on Middlewich Road in protest.

One businessman, who says he has already suffered because of parking charges in Crewe, is Andrew Carter, of Andrew Carter Jewellers on Congleton Road in Sandbach.

He closed his shop in Crewe a few years ago because, he said, the parking charges there affected footfall.

Now he fears for the future of traders in Sandbach.

“They (Cheshire East) kept adding charges to the car parks in Crewe, they went up, footfall went down and more and more shops went, to the point that it is now,” said Mr Carter. “And they still haven’t learnt their lesson, because they’re still over-charging, probably the dearest in Cheshire East and with no shops.”

Mr Carter said because the Commons car park in Sandbach will remain free – charges can’t be imposed on this land – everyone will try and cram on to that.

He said when they can’t they will give Sandbach a miss and go elsewhere.

“If people have got to pay car parking charges they may as well do that in a bigger city or bigger town where there’s more shops,” he said.

“Sandbach is a small town and if you want to keep small towns and villages thriving you can’t have parking charges.”

Mr Carter also questioned why the council was considering a 30 minute time restriction on Congleton Road near his shop.

“What can you get done in 30 minutes? Why don’t they make it an hour or two?” he said.

A Sandbach resident, who contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service about the charges, said: “Residents have had enough. We are very unhappy. Parking charges and increased restrictions will kill Sandbach and hurt other towns.”

In a statement released when Cheshire East launched the parking charges consultation, deputy leader Craig Browne (Ind) said: “The inherited legacy where some residents pay to park [such as Crewe, Nantwich and Knutsford] and others do not has caused a sense of unfairness.

“The council is proposing to address this imbalance – taking into account each town’s characteristics – while also responding to the higher costs of maintaining our car parks, which require regular resurfacing, improved lighting and markings and the installation of EV charging points.”

The 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: carparksreview2023@cheshireeast.gov.uk


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