Council to consider scrapping cash payments and introduce Sunday charges on car parks

By Belinda Ryan - Local Democracy Reporter

19th Jan 2024 | Local News

Cheshire East Council is considering scrapping cash payments and introducing Sunday and evening parking charges in its car parks (Ryan Parker).
Cheshire East Council is considering scrapping cash payments and introducing Sunday and evening parking charges in its car parks (Ryan Parker).

Cash payments could be scrapped and Sunday and evening parking charges could be introduced, because Cheshire East's planned overhaul of fees won't bring in the savings needed.

The highways and transport committee is next week (January 25), expected to drive through a number of proposals recently consulted on.

This includes implementing parking charges in towns and villages where it is currently free and hiking up charges in those areas which already pay.

Cheshire East Council's Edleston Road Car Park, adjacent to The Imperial pub (Ryan Parker).

Now it is gearing up to consider further measures, after a report says the proposed shake-up of charges is £800,000 short of the savings needed.

If any of the new proposals are agreed by the committee they would be subject to separate statutory public consultation.

One suggestion is removing cash payments in all pay and display car parks – which would save the council about £100,000 annually.

The highways officer's report states: "Instead, users will have the options to pay by card, phone or contract parking permit purchase."

Currently, more than 40 per cent of the parking payments across the borough are made in cash.

Cheshire East Council's Holly Bank Car Park, close to Crewe's new multi-storey car park and bus interchange (Ryan Parker).

And there was an angry backlash when cashless parking was trialled during the pandemic in 2020.

The report states: "The cashless trial for Cheshire East only continued for approximately eight weeks with the decision being overturned as complaints were received inferring that it disenfranchised the elderly."

Another option to be considered at Thursday's meeting is the introduction of a Sunday parking charge.

This would bring in an estimated £100,000 a year if a flat rate of £2 a day is introduced or £180,000 if the council extended its weekday parking charges to Sunday.

Another proposal on the table is the extension of parking charges to cover evening periods from 6pm to 10pm.

Cheshire East Council's Wrexham Terrace Car Park, close to The Market Shopping Centre (Ryan Parker).

The council estimates this could bring in an extra £300,000, although there would be additional operational costs for enforcement cover during evenings.

Or charges could start earlier at the beginning of the day.

Officers estimate if charges started at 8am at all locations, this would bring in an extra £50,000 .

There is also a suggestion that the offer of 'four free days' that is currently available to town and parish councils could be scrapped.

This would increase annual revenues by an estimated £120,000.

Currently, more than 40 per cent of the parking payments across Cheshire East are made in cash (LDRS).

The officer's report asks councillors to identify any of these measures which could be implemented in 2024/25 to resolve the £800,000 budget gap.

The highways and transport meeting takes place at 10.30am at Macclesfield Town Hall on Thursday, 25 January.

READ MORE: Hundreds flock to Taco Bell as it officially opens first ever Crewe outlet.

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