Following the news earlier this year that Free after 3 was to be abolished with the council stating its “limited impact” the new parking strategy for Chester has been revealed. The plan is part of a 15 year strategy and aims for “fairer and consistent tariffs across different car parks” as well as offers to replace the Free after 3 scheme. Length of stay restrictions and on-street charges will also be implemented in locations where demand is high and often exceeds capacity. The changes which will be introduced early next year include:
Changed parking tariffs: aimed at supporting shorter stay parking in central areas and
discouraging commuters from parking for extended hours in areas where demand is high ,and encourage longer stay parking at the city’s outer facilities.
Trinity Street – reduced tariff for up to two hours’ stay
Cuppin Street – reduced tariff for up to one hour stay
Market – cheaper for all durations
Delamere Street – cheaper for all durations
A flat rate of £5 all day will be introduced at Little Roodee and Watergate Street to encourage longer stay use.
Modest parking charges will be introduced in the heavily oversubscribed Bishop Street car park in Hoole to help ensure shoppers can find a space by reducing the number of people parking all day. Walker Street will become a long stay car park for permit holders. The Council will work closely with local residents and businesses to ensure their parking needs are identified.
On-street parking charges
These will be introduced in three locations in the city – City Road, Brook Street and Foregate Street. Charges will be set at £1 per hour (or part hour) up to 6pm and at a flat rate of £1 after 6pm.
Length of stay restrictions operate until 6pm at all three locations. The current time restriction on City Road will be increased from one hour to a maximum of two hours and the restriction on Foregate Street will be increased from 30 minutes to 1 hour. As in other locations, the Council will work with local residents to ensure that their parking needs are identified.
Overnight charges implemented in some car parks
Little Roodee will charge £8 for between 12 and 24 hours.
Length of stay restrictions
The action plan also sees a maximum stay of 4 hours introduced at Sandy Lane car park. It is also planned to introduce length of stay restrictions in nearby on-street bays.
There will be a programme of investment to maintain car parks and bring them up to a good standard, with work starting between January and June 2018.
Alternative offers to Free after 3 alongside the reduced parking charges include : trial free after 2pm on a mid-week day on Park and Ride, discounts for motorists arriving within certain times, discounted evening parking , weekend discounts, and offers during quiet seasonal periods. A “spend and save” offer with participating retailers is also being looked at.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore, said: “Our population and car ownership rates are steadily rising and land available for car parking is decreasing.
“Over the coming years, the Council needs to invest in car parks so that we have enough clean and safe spaces, in the right places, with clear signage and new technology to make it easier and more convenient for people coming to Chester by car.
“Changes to parking charges and introducing time restrictions will ensure everyone can park where they need to and altering the restrictions and charging on specific roads will ensure parking is fair across the city.
“To support businesses better, and to increase the time shoppers spend in the city, we want to introduce a range of more flexible offers to encourage trade throughout the day and ease the pressure on the evening peak hour. The current ‘Free after3 ’ scheme services a small amount of people so instead we’re bringing in a range of offers that cater for all types of people wanting to visit Chester.
“Air pollution is an issue that Chester residents want action on so we are trialling free use of Park and Ride after 2pm mid-week, which we hope will encourage people to leave the car at home, reduce congestion and improve air quality.”
Cllr Shore added: “We’re making big strides with this action plan to really invest in our car parks for the future and the fairest way to generate the income needed to make this level of investment, and contribute towards the savings the Council must make, is for those who use the service and who own a car to contribute.”
The full action plan can be found at https://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/parkingstrategy2017