Community leaders in Cheadle have aired concern over proposals to change car parking charges in the town. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has commissioned consultants Parking Matters to draw up a Parking Strategy Draft Recommendations report which covers all the car parks which are under the remit of the district council – these include Tape Street and Well Street car parks in Cheadle.
Community leaders in Cheadle have aired concern over proposals to change car parking charges in the town.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has commissioned consultants Parking Matters to draw up a Parking Strategy Draft Recommendations report which covers all the car parks which are under the remit of the district council – these include Tape Street and Well Street car parks in Cheadle.
At a recent Cheadle Town Council meeting, where the draft strategy was discussed, councillors Mark Staton and Gary Bentley both raised concerns in respect of the timing and content of the recommendations.
Since the meeting the town council has written an open letter to SMDC. It states: “The recommendations have been considered by councillors, and it is felt that the Car Parking Strategy for Cheadle should not be determined at this time, and that it should be incorporated within the wider projects that remain unresolved. These include the Town Centre Project, the Leisure Facilities Review and the High Street Taskforce.
“In any event, councillors were concerned about the negative impact that the proposals for Cheadle would have on the town.
“Cheadle Town Council believe that any future Car Parking Strategy for Cheadle is inextricably linked to the longer-term projects, and that any decision on our car parks at Cabinet level should therefore be deferred.
“We would ask that this deferral remains in place until such time as clarity has been established in terms of the wider regeneration, and the impact this would clearly have on our town centre car parks has been established.
“Cheadle Town Council fully understands that the Car Parking Strategy is a district wide objective, however Cheadle finds itself in a somewhat unique position in terms of regeneration, and it is wholly appropriate that our car parking services are considered alongside the other proposed developments for the town.”
In the tariff section of the draft strategy, it recommends a number of options which includes: two hours free parking on the Well Street Car Park but that would be with extending the charging times on both car parks in Cheadle from 9.30am until 3.30pm, to 8am until 6pm instead; and also introducing charging for car parking on Sundays at both car parks.
For Cheadle, the recommendations also included: “Tape Street is a significant asset to SMDC and provides a strategic facility for Cheadle and a potential vehicle for regeneration; Well Street car park operates at a net loss; ‘Look and feel’ and general condition of the car parks should be improved; Move remaining High Street parking into the car park; Adopt a policy for other uses on the car park, markets, community fairs or other opportunities for regeneration.”
Councillor Mark Staton further told the Times & Echo of his thoughts over the recommendations set out on the draft strategy: “When I considered these recommendations, I felt that, overall, they would have a negative impact on the town.
“My other concern was that there are so many proposals being discussed in the town at the moment, I did not feel that it was the right time for the district council to be considering changes to our current arrangements.
“On balance I felt that the best course of action would be to ask the district council to defer any decision making until we have some certainty around the longer-term projects. I am pleased that the town councillors were unanimous in supporting this proposal.”
Councillor Gary Bentley added: “I believe that compared to the rest of SMDC car parks, Cheadle has not benefitted from this parking review. If anything the town is going to lose out.
“I would urge people to have a look at the draft strategy which has been uploaded onto the Cheadle Town Council website.”
Cllr Bentley, along with councillor Kate Martin, has been attending meetings with SMDC regarding the parking review.
Cllr Bentley added: “I just feel that Cheadle has not been listened to. However, it is not final, so I hope there is time tochange things so that our town can benefit from this, like others are.
“Cheadle’s main car park has the power to help Cheadle High Street, so hopefully the SMDC cabinet member in charge can work with Cheadle Town Council and residents and High Street shops to give Cheadle a hand to recover post Covid.”
Councillor Kate Martin said of the draft strategy: “My concern is this is being rushed.
“All the car parks have different needs and for us in Cheadle we don’t want charges on a Sunday.
“Also in the report it mentions the car park as being a good opportunity for development? How can we even discuss the car park when we are still in consultation as a Stakeholders panel?”
The Times & Echo contacted SMDC with regards to Cheadle Town Council’s concerns. In response council leader,councillor Sybil Ralphs, said: “Whilst the car parking strategy covers the whole of the Moorlands, there are potential interdependencies with the leisure facilities review and the regeneration of Cheadle town centre.
“Nothing has yet been agreed and consultation with residents, businesses and town organisations on the future of Cheadle is set to start in the coming weeks.
“The council will fully consider, and take into account, the comments and feedback we receive before any decisions are made.”
Anyone wishing to view the Draft Car Parking Strategy can do so by going online to: https://cheadletowncouncil.org.uk/car-parking-strategy.
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