15-year strategy to invest in borough's car parks

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Cabinet asked to approve 15-year strategy to invest in borough's car parks

The Cheshire West Council's Cabinet has been asked to approve a 15-year plan of investment and improvement in the borough's parking provision.

In a report which will go before Cabinet next week (Weds, July 12) a number of key focus areas are outlined to ensure that current and future parking provision remains fit for purpose, contributes to residents' quality of life and supports residents, businesses and the visitor economy.

These include a wide range of parking issues like supply and demand, car park locations and quality, on and off-street parking, charging and enforcement.

The main proposals include:

  • improving the quality of the Council's car parks and raising the standard of the most used car parks to the best industry standard
  • updating car park technology to provide greater choice and flexibility for customers by providing a range of payment methods; including card, phone and account payment options
  • introducing modest charges at some car parks where charges currently aren't in place, particularly where there are significant parking pressures, to ensure there is sufficient, good quality, secure car parking available and to be consistent across the borough.
  • This is recommended in Frodsham, Hoole, Northwich, and in Winsford when regeneration work in the town has been completed.
  • the need to address parking pressures by exploring the acquisition of land for parking and the potential for multi-storey or decked car parks in certain locations, including at some railway stations
  • introducing a range of more flexible offers as alternatives to current concessions like 'Free after 3' which is shown to have a limited effect, such as discounts for motorists arriving within certain times, having participating retailers refund or part-pay for parking charges, discounted evening parking, weekend discounts and offers during quiet seasonal periods
  • improving the size, quality and number of disabled spaces across the borough.

    Due to the diversity of locations in the borough, the report recommends an overarching, borough-wide strategy and eight location-based strategies for Chester, Ellesmere Port, Northwich, Winsford, Frodsham, Helsby and Neston (including Parkgate) and rural areas.

    While recognising there are also some common issues that affect them, Cuddington and Sandiway, Farndon, Tarvin, Tattenhall, Malpas, Tarporley and Kelsall, will also be looked at on an individual basis.

    The draft strategy, produced by specialist transport consultants Mott MacDonald does recommend charging Blue Badge holders for parking.

    However, the officer report to Cabinet recommended that the Council does not look to implement this, as it is recognised that disabled people are much more restricted in their travel options and have little choice where they park.

    Over the coming years, the Council needs to find ways to invest in our car parks so we have sufficient clean and safe spaces, in the right places, with clear signage and new technology to make visits easier and more flexible.

    We need to address the issues faced by residents who live in areas where commuters regularly park, introduce the right offers in the right places to encourage visitors, improve disabled provision, and reduce congestion and air pollution.

    A number of the recommendations in the draft Strategy will require investment, in some cases considerable investment, in order to provide sufficient, fit for purpose parking facilities in the borough. The detailed costing of each of the action plans will be evaluated on an individual basis.

    In some cases, where investment costs are likely to be considerable, for example where new land should be purchased to increase future parking provision, the Council may need to enter into partnership agreements.

    A copy of the full report and the minutes of the cabinet meeting can be found HERE