Draft plans regarding changes in the way Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC)-owned car parks are run have been outlined. Community leaders on the Cheadle Stakeholders Panel met with SMDC officers via online link last Wednesday (December 15) to hear the latest on SMDC’s regeneration plans for the town.
Draft plans regarding changes in the way Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC)-owned car parks are run have been outlined.
Community leaders on the Cheadle Stakeholders Panel met with SMDC officers via online link last Wednesday (December 15) to hear the latest on SMDC’s regeneration plans for the town.
Among many items on the agenda was an update on the SMDC’s Emerging Car Park Strategy.
Feedback from town residents and members of Cheadle Town Council in previous months had highlighted the demands the community wanted to see in its car parks on Tape Street and Well Street.
Neil Rodgers, Executive Director at SMDC, explained that the council had taken this into consideration and that it had “come to a conclusion now that we can endeavour to meet a number of those.”
He explained that in current proposals, there would still be no parking charges on Sundays.
However, parking charging times would be extended to between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday.
A total of 54 spaces in Tape Street car park would be designated for free 30-minute stays at any time in the day while those around the area of B&M Bargains will become long-stay.
Well Street car park would also be long-stay while drivers can benefit from an hour’s free parking, if proposals are passed.
Mr Rodgers added: “Across the whole borough, car parking tariffs haven’t risen since 2018 so there’s a need for us to consider a sustainable parking tariff going forward.
“Given all the free parking that we are going to provide, and taking out the potential for Sunday parking, parking rates are going to be comparable market rates plus 10p.
“So charges will go up but it is considered to be proportional and as minimal as possible to meet the demands that we are seeing from each of the town centres.”
He noted that SMDC does not think that car parking numbers will return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon and that it believes the strategy needs to be sustainable going forward while ensuring it meets customers’ needs.
“I think the length of time its taken is an indication of how serious we are taking it, but it’s not a simple matter,” he said.
The proposals will go into a cabinet report setting out the strategy in detail and the changes to the parking regimes in Cheadle, Leek and Biddulph’s town centres.
They will then go to a scrutiny panel in January before being submitted onto a Cabinet meeting agenda in early February for a decision.
Permits for Well Street car park are still planned to be retained while the issue of whether parents could use the free 30-minute Tape Street parking in the morning to drop off their children for school and again in the afternoon to pick them up is to be clarified.
SMDC is hoping to bring in pay by phone and contactless payment options as soon as possible, too.
Electric car charging points are being considered with aspects such as public demand and space capacity being discussed alongside Staffordshire County Council.
Cheadle Town councillor Gary Bentley, who has been liaising with SMDC councillors and officers over car park changes, gave his reaction to the proposals during last Wednesday’s meeting.
“I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t have the heads up of what you were going to suggest today,” he said.
“Under no circumstances do I want to be on the record of supporting being a part of it being extended where you’re charging from 8am to 6pm.
“At the moment people park up at half-three to do their shopping to try and beat the tariffs so I will not be supporting extending the day.
“I welcome the 30 minutes free parking, I think that should be encouraged.”
Cllr Bentley continued: “Tean have got the same amount of parking spaces that you’ve just given us 30 minutes for, and they’ve got 24-hours-a-day free parking.
“Half the amount in Forsbrook are free parking and half the amount in Blythe Bridge are free car parking all day, no tariffs.
“The only good part is that you’re not going to encourage parking (charges) on Sunday because I don’t think even SMDC want to take God on.
“Thank you for your report but I cannot support it, sorry.”
Stakeholder panel chair SMDC councillor Ian Plant, who also sits on Cheadle Town Council, highlighted that these types of queries will be looked at when the plans go to the scrutiny panel.
Fellow Cheadle Town Councillor Phil Routledge said: “I’m also not happy extending it from half-three to six o’clock.
“A lot of people come into town to shop and you’ll upset the economy even more.
“It is not a good idea and I will be opposing that on scrutiny myself, not happy at all.”
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