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Parking Debate: The Council Bites Back

Simon Binns' Q&A with Cllr Nigel Murphy about city centre new charging measures

Written by . Published on July 11th 2011.

Parking Debate: The Council Bites Back

The Introduction

SO OFF I went to the Town Hall, to ask Councillor Nigel Murphy, executive member for the environment, about the controversial changes to the city centre parking charges. These mean increased charges and increased hours - 8am-8pm seven days a week, rather than 8am-6pm Monday to Saturday. 

After we'd heard from city centre businesses last week (click here) we thought it only fair for the city council to have its day in the Confidential court.

We wanted to get their reasons for the charges, and how they feel they will affect city centre businesses and residents.

We also put a few readers' questions to Cllr Murphy.

By the way the tone, particularly at the start, was defensive, from the Councillor. Maybe he knew he was in a corner with public opinion.

The Interview

Simon Binns (SB): First things first - why the need for change?

Councillor Nigel Murphy (Cllr NM): Congestion and traffic flow are an issue. You can go past bays at 9am or 10am on a Sunday that are full, and the same cars are still parked in them at 2pm or 3pm, so it’s stopping the movement of traffic. People who drive in to work at the Arndale starting at 10am or 11am are coming in and parking in those bays all day.  

SB: But isn’t that their right?

Cllr NM: But it’s affecting traffic flow.   

SB: So why not operate a zonal parking system – one area for workers and one for visitors?

Cllr NM: People work shifts, which would make it very difficult to operate. At the end of the day, we’re talking about a very small percentage of bays in the city centre – around 10 per cent (2,291) – that are going to be affected.  

SB: How far back does thinking go on Sunday charging? Does it predate the government spending cuts?

Cllr NM: We monitor the situation constantly, and I remember we had these discussions six or seven years ago when we looked to introduce Saturday afternoon charging. I’m not saying part of it isn’t to do with the cuts because we’ve had to approach things in a different way because of the massive savings we have to make. We have to consider everything, but it’s also one of our busiest days (Sunday) in the city centre for traffic and congestion.  

SB: If congestion is the issue, is parking a small part of what you think you need to do or the only measure?

Cllr NM: Parking is a part of it. We need to look at traffic lights and flow. We’ve all driven around town slowly looking for that free parking space. That creates congestion.  

SB: But I drive around the city centre during weekdays and I can’t say I ever sit in huge queues of traffic. It’s actually quite an easy city centre to get across in a car. I think the idea of congestion in the city centre is wrong.

Cllr NM: You must be going through a different city centre to me. I drove from the Town Hall to Hulme for a meeting the other day and it took me 20 minutes to get out of the city centre.  

SB: There are some pinch points coming in and out, but often it’s to do with road works rather than the number of cars coming in.

Cllr NM: During peak hours, we’ve got huge congestion. We’re extending the charging hours to help that traffic flow better. 

SB: The council is quite keen to introduce electric cars and charging points to the city centre. How will that affect congestion?

Cllr NM: There are different types of congestion. There is the pollution that comes from congestion…

SB: Well, no, There’s only one type of congestion. Pollution is a separate issue.

Cllr NM: But pollution comes from congestion and we’re looking to reduce emissions in the city. We want specific bays for charging points with restrictions on them. 

SB: Do council employees get any free parking currently, or will they once the Town Hall Extension is finished and First Street develops? 

Cllr NM: As a council employee, we don’t get any parking provision, no. Of course we have parity. There’s no special treatment. As part of our green travel plans, we encourage staff to use public transport to get in. And there is free parking in the Town Hall for cycles. 

SB: Do you have a target when you think these measures will reduce congestion by - ease traffic flow?

Cllr NM: Not to hand, but it’s been proven that traffic in the city moves about ten per cent slower on a Sunday and on the evenings as well. We want to make it easier for people to get around the city.

We’re not anti-car. There’s need to bring a car in sometimes. If you look at Manchester’s parking offering, on-street makes up about 10 per cent of that. We’re talking about one element. Within the wider city boundaries there are about 30,000 spaces.

If you park out of town, there is Metroshuttle, the Metrolink is expanding and people do have other options to get into town. 

SB: Some people would argue that a busy city is a prosperous one, but who were most opposed to the measures during consultation?

Cllr NM: There was a mix. Some were for, some were against. If you look at Chinatown, we know there are problems with that area and there are around 100 on-street parking bays there and 500 residents, as well as the restaurant community. They’ve been asking us to free up those bays because it clogs up the area.

At the moment it’s assumed you can come into town at 6pm and get a bay. I don’t think they’re generally available.

With the theatre crowd, if you’re coming in at 6pm for a 7.30pm show, where the theatres are, you get two hours on the meters.

SB: So you’re confident people won’t stay away from the city centre?

Cllr NM: I’m personally confident, but we need to monitor it. 

SB: Over how long?

Cllr NM: Continually. And we have to be mindful of other things affecting food and drink and theatre operators, such as the rise in VAT and other costs. We can’t just look at parking as the only element.

SB: How much consideration do you give to places like the Trafford Centre, with its free parking, and Leeds, where parking charges are being slashed to encourage people in?

Cllr NM: You have to compare apples with apples. The Trafford Centre is a completely different offer to the city centre. Manchester is a hub; The Trafford Centre is not the easiest place to get to.

Some would argue it’s not that different an offer to the city centre though. Shopping makes up the majority.

The city centre is a central location that people can easily come into, from places like Oldham and Stockport.

We’ve seen these arguments before. That the Trafford Centre would kill the city centre because of the free parking spaces. It hasn’t happened. Over Christmas, footfall increased in the city centre and dropped off slightly at the Trafford Centre. That may be due to the bigger offer we have and the activities we run in the city centre. I don’t think it’s comparing like for like.

We’ll take The Trafford Centre and Leeds into account, as well as Greater Manchester’s outlying areas. There are different competitors but I think people can easily talk down the city but I think Manchester has been quite innovative at pulling people in.

SB: How about city centre residents? Are they well-catered for regarding parking bays for them or visitors? Apartments are also near capacity, so more may be built soon. Will that affect parking provision?

Cllr NM: People moving in to the city centre know the offer, and a lot of them are moving in without cars. We also have to look at people getting their shopping delivered. There are 20,000 people in the city centre.

I think the issue of residents having trouble is a red herring, When they move in, they know what the situation is. They’ve moved in with their eyes open. We are assessing what we can do to help with some areas of resident parking though.

I see on-street bays as temporary parking provision not long-term bays for residents of the city centre. 

SB: So is it the case that the council was going to introduce these measures anyway and hang it on the issue of congestion? The cuts aren’t really a factor?

Cllr NM: Spending cuts certainly come into it. Congestion is the main thing. There have been a lot of hard choices to be made and we can’t always do things the way we have done. If we want to have the money to reinvest in highways, it can come from parking reserves. If our budget is being taken, we have to find the money from somewhere else. 

SB: So how much will this make the council?

Cllr NM: It’s hard to estimate. There is money in parking, but it’s not the sole reason why we’re doing it. Maybe we can look at different zones, or validation deals with restaurants or theatres, but that can’t be done with the technology we’ve got now. The money we make from parking can be invested in the parking offer, such as making the technology better and increasing payment options. 

SB: So Sunday charging is here now, but might not be in the future?

Cllr NM: Nothing is set in stone. 

SB: Did you consider pedestrianisation of parts of the city centre instead?

Cllr NM: That costs quite a lot to do. We want traffic to flow and pedestrianisation doesn’t really help. 

SB: Are there areas around the edges of the city where you could actually look to expand parking zones?

Cllr NM: Perhaps. There could be some zones around the Mancunian Way that could benefit. The current zones have been in place for around 20 years but the city centre has changed a lot in that time. In some of Ancoats, for example, there are residents’ areas there that operate under a different order. We need to look at the inner ring road – there could be some fine tuning. But there’ll be no pushing it out to the suburbs. 

SB: Will there be more enforcement officers on street?

Cllr NM: No, there’ll be no more. There may actually be a reduction in numbers. 

SB: Do you think you did all you could to consult fully?

Cllr NM: We think so. We appreciate people’s concerns but we did everything we did to engage and I think the number of responses to consultation show that. No system is perfect and you can always make tweaks, but with the budget we’ve got, we have to do things differently.

Over to you - Some Readers' Questions:

Mel: What are the risks according to the council and what will they do if this does affect local business. In other words, do they have a Plan B?

Cllr NM: Plan B is to monitor. We’ll be looking at the measures month by month.

Anon: How sure are the council the measures won’t ruin city centre shopping?

Cllr NM:  Nobody can be 100 per cent certain, but people said Saturday afternoon charging would kill the city centre and that hasn’t been the case. We realise that nobody likes change.

Matthew Hird: What research has the council done to show that businesses won’t be negatively impacted by these changes. And what research has been done to show that traffic congestion needs to be eased. Where is the evidence these charges will reduce congestion?

Cllr NM: We’ve worked closely with the Chamber of Commerce. Some restaurants currently complain that at 6pm, nobody can get near their venues and on Sundays, the city gets clogged up because people are parking there all day. 

There are regular studies done by the Greater Manchester Transport Unit that indicate traffic flow across Greater Manchester has become more congested. We’re keeping an eye on it.

Matthew Hird: The referendum on congestion charging a few years ago must have given you an insight into the public’s idea of how much of an issue congestion was?

Cllr NM: I think that’s a totally different argument. It’s a choice about where people can park in the city centre. We’re trying to address the congestion problem. With the referendum, people said they didn’t want a charge to stop them coming in. The owners of the Trafford Centre presented it as a £12,000 a year tax on people coming in to the city centre.

Ancoats: City centre living has proven hugely popular in Manchester. What is being done to ensure affordable off-street parking and could we see 24 hour meters in the future?

Cllr NM: Some people have suggested we look at 24-hour charging. Again, we’ll keep monitoring the situation. We’re confident friends of people living in the city centre will be able to get a spot to park. 

In conclusion

So what did we get from that then?

We've found out that the council believes the city is congested, that the new charges will be monitored and ‘aren’t set in stone.’ The council is also confident the Arndale will manage to stave off competition from the Trafford Centre. And if you want to live in Manchester city centre and you have a car, buy a space with your apartment. Otherwise tough. 

Strange interview though because almost all the people we've talked to who live, work or visit - aside from some cyclists who've commented on our stories - seem dead set against the changes. Despite all the councillor's reasoning this seems an incontrovertible fact. So much for democracy.

So essentially it comes down to the council saying we've set our minds on this so there.

But is there a hint of a climb-down?

Cllr Murphy said "nothing was set in stone" - does that point to a potential u-turn? The council also claims it will be monitoring the affects on the city centre constantly. 

So will we.

Maybe it's time for a petition? What do you think folks? 

Follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns

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102 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Petition please. The Council are continuing to take the piss out of residents & visitors to the City. Some of those answers basically made out we were stupid.

big buddaJuly 11th 2011.

I`ve been in manc for 12 years and drive and park in the centre 3 or 4 times a week ( on all days and times - free or otherwise) and I have never found there to be any traffic or parking problem unless there is some big event/ gig / festival on. I can`t help thinking the council is just trying to treat us like idiots and pull the wool over our eyes.
surely in order to reduce congestion ( not that there is any) we need more parking bays not charge increases and charges on sundays.
the fact is that bays are full on a sunday because people have driven into the centre to spend their cash in the shops, bars and restaurants. If people are charged an hourly rate to park on a sunday then I don`t doubt that people will still use them but the length of time they spend in the centre will be reduced. thereby reducing the money they spend in the shops and bars etc.
nobody likes to rush when they`re having a relaxing weekend of retail therapy and knowing that you have only an hour to get round the shops before you're bummed by the parking gods for a second hour turns the relaxing sunday trip to manc centre into a stressful " i`d rather not bother" scenario.

its no wonder businesses are closing left, right and centre and all the while manchester council sits with its head up its own arse wondering why its so dark and why there is a strong aroma of shit.

JayJuly 11th 2011.

As a city centre resident who owns a car and doesn't have parking I couldn't disagree more with what the Councillor is saying. I'm only 2 months into a 12 month contract on my flat and I knew what the situation was when I moved in, now the goalposts have been moved. Can ManCon set up a petition please.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

Amen, brother.

big buddaJuly 11th 2011.

incidentally though, if there is more than one of you going into the centre it still works out cheaper to drive and park in an NCP for 2 or 3 hours than the cost of return bus fares. ( e.g me and my missus go on the bus with a dayrider £ 3.70 each! £ 7.40 whereas parking at the ncp near afflex costs me about a fiver. plus i don`t have to wait at a bus stop hoping they`re running on time, I don`t have to waste a further 30-45mins sitting on the bus and I don`t have to put up with the stink of piss and constant shouting from various scrotes!)

so even with the new sunday charges its still the car for me thanks. you can shove your public transport right where the sun does not shine

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ian BlakesleyJuly 11th 2011.

agree Big Buddha, try living on the A666 route between Manchester and Bolton and at the mercy of the 'always late 8' as the fantastic bus service is called and then you are charged £4.50 for a day saver irrespective of how close you are to either destination...Sunday, maybe i kinda understand this, a little anyway, but even the non NCP car parks are about a quid on a Sunday all day, will this mean that these wallers will increase their charges? But after 6pm at night, as a worker in town (i'm a cyclist everyday to and from BTW so don't affect me and i have a parking spot at night and weekends if needed), i love seeing the buzz of crowds in town extended into the night, i suspect that this move may kill this!

Tree HuggerJuly 11th 2011.

I am admittedly one of the 'cyclists who've commented on our stories' but i am also a car driver (a dirty great gas guzzling one as well) who visits town two or three times a week and just for a bit balance i am not dead set against this idea. I think there are a vocal minority who are against it but on the whole i think travelling by car and parking on the street in town is a bit daft and if i do so i fully expect to pay for the privilege.
Manchester city centre will continue to be attractive to me to visit because it has stuff that Dumplington precinct can never offer and so i will continue to stay loyal to it - whatever the on street parking charges are. Anyone who is vacuous enough to turn their back on the wonders that Manchester city centre has to offer for the sake of a couple of quid is clearly not going to find much of interest here anyway.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Ian BlakesleyJuly 11th 2011.

Tree hugger, agree if they get the public transport system sorted out. Not sure of your direction of travel into the city, but try it on the Bolton route - one bus No.8, about as reliable as a politician in a brothel, metro oh we aint got one, train not a chance without a decent car journey to a station - but no parking - and then a fiver to stand for privelage. I voted for the congestion charge BTW but this and the road changes through Chapel Street in Saldord - are the councils payback.

Tree HuggerJuly 11th 2011.

Yes - admittedly i am well served for public transport where i am but city wide it is very poor. I'm under no illusions about this - Gtr Manchester's track record on a decent public transport provision is shameful and we can never hope to achieve the status of other modern European cities until we get that right.

JanieJuly 11th 2011.

What a load of utter b*llocks! I'd have thought more of Councillor Murphy if he'd just been blunt and said exactly what it says on the tin - it's another way for the council to squeeze cash of everyone coming into the City Centre. I've come to the conclusion they couldn't give a stuff about the businesses in town as they do sod all to encourage people to divert from the likes of the Trafford Centre by doing something so simplistic such as having one day without parking charges! It doesn't take a brain of Britain to work out the positive affect that would have for the shops. Jesus, these people make me so angry I could punch every one of them!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
big buddaJuly 11th 2011.

you can only punch them on off-peak times. otherwise they`ll charge you for it

big buddaJuly 11th 2011.

you can only punch them if its off-peak . otherwise they`ll charge you for it.

JohnthebriefJuly 11th 2011.

It would have been interesting to know whether the Council's plans were amended or reconsidered in any way in response to their alleged "consultation".

The only time I have ever known congestion to be an issue in Manchester is when they dug up large parts of the city centre for utilities renewal. (Incidentally, has anyone been fired for not ensuring that all utilities made use of the same road closures, so that we had successive people digging and-redigging the same road? Thought not.)

We all know these changes are about money. Councillor Murphy's patronising guff is not fooling anyone.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Nicky Rybka-GoldsmithJuly 12th 2011.

I totally agree with all that Johnthebrief has written, we have 2 business on Thomas St in the northern quarter, and the utility works took nearly 3 months! (road closed) then as if by magic they re appeared a few months later to dig it all up again ?

Simon SmithJuly 11th 2011.

The councillor is correct whn he says that city centre dwellers knew they had no parking at their flats when they moved in, so they can't expect anyone to provide them with a guaranteed space.

I agree completely with this approach.

So why does the council run or propose to run residents parking schemes in places like Didsbury? Surely the people in homes in such places also knew they didn't have off-road parking too when they bought their homes, so why provide them with a space now?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

Hang on, chief...

I knew the score when I moved in, fair enough (although after visiting no fewer than 7 letting agents, the flat I'm in now was the ONLY one available ANYWHERE and came with no parking available... besides the point). I had to be out for work before 8am, and if I got back before 6pm I'd have to pay to park where I live; Saturdays I'd have to figure out; and Sundays I could, well, have a Sunday. There was no guarentee of a space outside the building, agreed.

I need a car for my job. Now I'm a little screwed, and in the name of congestion? Utter crap.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

...and that's not to suggest that I think all Council policies and ideas should be made with me in mind. Just thought I'd add.

AnonymousJuly 13th 2011.

Yeah when I moved to the city centre, I knew that my friends and family could come to visit me/park by my flat from 12.30pm on a Sat until Mon morning and now they can only see me from 8pm at night only or pay an extortionate £2.70p per hour and after 2 hours they must move to a new spot. I don't even live right in the centre near the shops, I live out on Princess Street and there's never any congestion around that area and no-one has ever struggled to find a spot by me. I think there should be different zones, where I am is massively residential and most places don't have any parking with them, for my friends/family to come over on a Sat evening at 6pm and stay until Sunday night will now cost them approximately £25 in parking fees which would once have been nothing.

I will be looking at moving away from Manchester at the earliest possible chance I can get now. Well done Manchester Council.

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 11th 2011.

Just taken a picture on Deansgate for this story: http://tinyurl.com/6knoxww Look at the bottom picture of Deansgate at 4.30pm on a Monday. Look at all the congestion.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
big buddaJuly 11th 2011.

errrrmmm either i`m being thick or your link doesn`t work

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Yeah, it's going nowhere for me either.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

I've lived in a flat at the bottom of Deansgate for nearly 2 years (admittedly with a parking space!) - however I commute to Trafford Park for my job and have only ever experienced traffic problems on Thursdays on the run up to Christmas, when Take That were in town or when the continuous roadworks were in place!

Jane DowlerAugust 1st 2011.

Is this a joke Jonathan ? The link goes nowhere for me either. Maybe because there is no congestion ?
Ive worked in a Business (restaurant) for 8 years and apart from when there are roadworks there is never really any congestion down the Hilton end. In fact its rush hour now and traffic is moving freely.
As for restaurants wanting cars to go away, I dont think so, we welcome drivers parking after 6pm for a quick bite.

DaniJuly 11th 2011.

I have to say, I'd rather come into town than to the Trafford Centre if I want to shop or on a Satuday or Sunday because there's a greater variety of shops and entertainment...but given that it's a £4.20 return bus fare (cheers for that, First Group), so that's £8.40 if there's two of us, and at least a fiver to park if I wanted to stay in for a few hours (i.e. to shop and have a meal/go to the cinema)...I'm finding that I go to the Trafford Centre more because I don't have to spend the best part of a tenner before I've actually done anything!

Additionally, coming from Newcastle, I've noticed there's a massive difference between the two Councils' attitude to parking, and one can easily get into Newcastle city centre cheaply via public transport or reasonably priced city centre parking (an average of 90p an hour), which sees people flock to the city centre every weekend (one of it's high streets can charge the 4th highest rent to its retail units in the UK and each shop on it has been going strong for years). There seem to be many more Council-run car parks in Newcastle, than in Manchester, which I find sad...and Newcastle city centre has to compete with Europe's largest indoor shopping centre in the form of the MetroCentre. It is able to do this thanks to this ease of access, rather than in spite of it, which is what Manchester's City Council seems intent on it doing.

When one compares the two city centres, I feel nothing but frustration, as Manchester's a wonderful city, I'm happy to call it my home, and surely its residents deserve the same level of access as their North Eastern bretheren. For the love of God, let's sort it out!

tblzebraJuly 11th 2011.

Interesting that the Council executive member for the environment thinks that if you park out of town you can catch a free Metroshuttle bus into the centre.

Or does he mean that haven of out-of-town car parks just over the river, where you can catch the number 3 free bus by Salford Central Station, except on a Sunday?

And that 'the Trafford Centre is not the easiest place to get to.' That M60 orbital motorway is a bugger to nagivate, isn't it.

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.


1 Response: Reply To This...
big buddaJuly 11th 2011.

well said

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Why do people constantly speak of the council as though they were a private entity? The council delivers public services for the people of Manchester and in doing so has to balance a wide number of views and competing priorities.

The only reason it takes a particular course of action is because it believes that not doing so would cause greater harm to the city. Any decision would therefore need to be based on a thorough analysis of the problem, the impact of the proposed measures as well as taking on board the views of the public through consultation. This is precisely what councils do.

That a proportion of people who post on a particular message board take issue with a policy does not necessarily imply the majority are against it, nor does it imply they are right or know best!

What would have been more informative would be if the interviewer had probed the councillor on exactly what analysis had informed the policy. I am reassured to hear that the local Chamber of Commerce had an input - this suggests that the policy has a sound commercial basis; but I would be interested to know what the weighting is between congestion considerations and revenue generation considerations in terms of what is driving this policy forward.

I would also be interested to know if they have carried out any serious research into public perceptions around accessibility. If people perceive the city centre to be inaccessible, difficult to get around or to park, regardless of the reality, then you are still handing an advantage to the likes of the Traffford Centre. Perceptions are incredibly important but hysterical, rabble rousing articles don't help either, ManCon!

Lisa SpeakmanJuly 11th 2011.

What a complete piece of utter rubbish!! Congestion because of people looking for car parking spaces?!? I think the most I have ever been held up was about 30seconds whilst someone reversed into a space. Plus all the side streets around the Spring Gardens area aren't exactly thoroughfares for city centre commuters!!

It is enfuriating that these people are trying to pull the wool over our eyes, when this is clearly a money making exercise, profiting only the council and leaving local business and residents out of pocket.

Lets just hope that Salford Council don't jump on this bandwagon and we can continue to park on Chapel Street with ease at the weekends. In the meantime, I shall have to contact all my wedding guests who were informed that "on street parking is free in the city centre on a Sunday"!


AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

But revenue generation is an entirely legitimate objective for a council. This money goes into essential public services after all.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
JohnthebriefJuly 11th 2011.

Of course, what constitutes "essential" public services is a matter of opinion.

Lisa SpeakmanJuly 12th 2011.

what about the excessive council tax, road tax, income tax and VAT we pay, is this not enough to fund such "essential public services"? And are these services the reduced bin collections we experience? Or perhaps reduced policing on our streets? Oh oh I know, it's the increased numbers of idiotic parking attendants without an ounce of common sense or human decency.

CBAugust 2nd 2011.

lifes shit ain't it Lisa

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Hmmm. If you charge people for something that is currently free, you annoy them. But the congestion argument is rubbish. I often drive into town just after 6pm or on a Sunday, and I have never not been able to park. People do drive around looking for a parking place, e.g. in China town, causing congestion, but that is because they are trying to park as near as they possibly can to where they are going, when in fact there will be plenty of other free on-street places to park 10 or 15 minutes walk away. The current situation is fine. And if you wanted to alter the situation on a Sunday, to prevent all-day space hogging (which probably is a good idea) you could have areas where free Sunday parking was limited to a couple of hours.

Margaret LittlewoodJuly 11th 2011.

When we bought our city centre apartment 13 years ago there was free parking on the no through road outside,not now, so it's not true that we knew the situation before buying

Heather WoodJuly 11th 2011.

I live in Hulme and it never takes me twenty minutes to drive to or from the city centre! The good councillor was either very unlucky on the day it took him twenty minutes or he is talking out his arse! I'd wager the latter...

CJSJuly 11th 2011.

Petition Please. It is totally unfair the Council are moving the goal posts for residents. We bought or are renting based on the current or previous parking arrangements (up until 2006 restriction was only until 12.30pm on a Saturday). Yes our eyes were open to the existing restrictions when we bought or signed tenancies. But not to this under-handed and massive shift by the Council. They seem dead set on imposing this regardless of objections and the knock on effects. And little prospect of a residents' scheme making up for that. Especially if Cllr Nigel Murphy's comment above about residents and long term parking is anything to go by......

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

My partner works in one of the city centre restaurants. She starts around 5 and finishes around 2-3am. Upping the meter time to 8pm will mean that she'll need around 3 1/2 to 4 hours in a meter to park. A large chunk of the evenings pay I'd say. I for one do not want my partner getting the late night bus home because it's cheaper than parking or getting a taxi. Charging on a Sunday is one thing, penalizing people who work in the evening to make it the vibrant city it is well out of order. Petition please MC!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Lisa SpeakmanJuly 12th 2011.

Not only that, city centre spaces are widely limited to 1 hour only!! Who goes into town for 1 hour of an evening??

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Isn't the clue for the solution in the title?: "Cllr" Murphy. It's not an immediate one, but the good people of Hulme could fight back for everyone else next time there's an election:


It's also interesting to note that the Councillor for Hulme can make and defend decisions on parking in the city centre. It's quite a walk from Dale Street to the arch. I wonder what stance he would take if the council looked to charge for parking in Hulme.

I'd suggest writing to him individually, or filling up his surgery time to talk about this in person with him, but that would just selfishly affect the people in his area that need his help.

Instead, set up a petition, start up a Facebook group and begin a twitter campaign. Ultimately though, if you really want to change things you need to either pick an alternative at the next local election, or put yourself forward as the alternative.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Oh dear, the pitchfork brigade are out in force again.

webUrchinJuly 12th 2011.

I hardly think that saying that you shouldn't vote for someone who comes up with and defends a policy that you disagree with is the act of a member of the "pitchfork brigade".

Could you please point out where in the post it suggests that people light brands and hunt this man out? It seems that you've skimmed it and made up your own mind as to what the content was.

Colin SwinneyJuly 11th 2011.

I go into town every Sunday. There is bearly any congestion. I think the Cllr is shopping in a different City!! You are right about "democracy" where is it!!? Dont we pay these idiots! Why do we let them get away with some of these idiotic ideas. Petition please!

AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

I work outside the city but use a city centre gym after work about 6pm however with the new parking rules I'll be cancelling the membership & taking my custom back to an out of town gym with parking as the membership will now work out cheaper! Go for a petition!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Tree HuggerJuly 11th 2011.

You drive to a gym?

Lisa SpeakmanJuly 12th 2011.

Yes "Tree Hugger" people drive to the gym and I will be forced to do the same.

Tree HuggerJuly 13th 2011.


Steven AshleyJuly 11th 2011.

This councillor can't be on the same earth as I am if he thinks that a shopworker can afford to park for the whole day in Manchester. The car parking charge would exceed the salary.
Councils should be working to bring people into town.not taxing thewm on their car in addition to duty on fuel and road tax. The effect of the parking debacle is serving only to close business down in the city centre. How is is it that these dopes at the council cannot see it?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 11th 2011.

Things are clearly bad if shopworkers get paid less than £3 per day (which is how much it costs me to park each day).

Steven AshleyJuly 11th 2011.

It does not cost £3 per day to park in a parking bay in the centre of Manchester and well you know it. £3 per hour is nearer the mark.
It's nothing short of scandalous that car owners have suffered a doubling of fuel proces in just a few years, not to mention road taxation and insurance. And still the councils want to squeeze them further with punitive parking charges when they've already paid to have the car on the road.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

I don't think too many shop workers park in a pay and display bay all day currently, mostly because you can't. Most people who drive in to work every day and either don't get parking with work or aren't loaded will park up for anything between £2.90 (end of Mancunian Way), £3 (Trinity Way) or £4 (bottom of Quay Street) a day. Hardly a king's ransom.

And if you're talking about a Sunday then how would Sunday charges destroy city centre business if the spaces are all taken up by shopworkers so therefore shoppers can't park in them? You're sort of making the council's case Steven. I don't particularly like this, but don't think it is going to stop the world turning.

Steven AshleyJuly 12th 2011.

"Hardly a king's ransom, depends on what yoyu're earning. If you are on minimum wage as most shopworkers are then yoiur king's ranson is a hefty proportion of their daily wage. In other words they have to pay to go to work for peanuts.

Simon SmithJuly 11th 2011.

CJS says

'It is totally unfair the Council are moving the goal posts for residents. We bought or are renting based on the current or previous parking arrangements (up until 2006 restriction was only until 12.30pm on a Saturday). '

CJS, you didn't buy the public road, you bought a home. We all have to accept that the council can change parking rules outside our homes on the public road. Only someone who thinks that as a resident that you have some kind of claim on the road space near your home could complain about that being unfair.

There are plenty of houses and buildings with double yellow lines outside that were built well before anyone had a car. Times change.

1 Response: Reply To This...
CJSJuly 11th 2011.

It is the rules changing on the Council's whim that is the issue here. We are not expecting more. Just want to maintain what we've got and not be driven to live out of town because of the Council.

Derek JacksonJuly 11th 2011.

tricky dicky lease and his merry bunch of councillor cronies are at it again, most of this nobbing mob dont drive and park but if they do its cos they have loads of dosh to do it with at our exspense. if they are saying they have too much congestion why dont they just put a blanket ban on all traffic and then with a bit of luck no one will go to the town center, better still stay away completely and go somewhere else like say the trafford center.
job done. or we should all vote to get rid of this mob running or ruining our fair city cos i for one think they have been at the helm far too long and its now time for change.

Steven AshleyJuly 11th 2011.

These barmy councillors ought to be dismissed. All over Manchester there are yellow lines in places where they are simply not needed. The barmy council must spend an absolute fortune painting them periodically and maintaining the array of increasingly complex signage plates. Don't barmy councillors realise that congestion in the city is borne out of people driving around endlessly, trying to find somewhere to park.

Pat HolohanJuly 11th 2011.

Is this yet another way to drive people to the Trafford Centre or Bury town centre?? We love to pop into Manchester after work (yes we earn a living) to have a meal or do a bit of late n ight shopping. This change with the parking will certainly send me elsewhere as will many others!! Also all these shops who are staying open until 8pm, this will affect them and the workers will be in work until 8pm for what? Yet more dwindling sales! Just what planet is this counil on, we need to be getting more people into the City spending money. Stop driving us away with the atronomical parking fees!!! The parking is extremely expensive in Manchester City Centre even when off peak, the parking fees should be reduced, nor increased. I'm sure these Councillors hav a parking place in the Town Hall so they dont have to pay to park!!!
Get supporting Manchesters shops and Restaurants!!!!

Darrall BishopJuly 11th 2011.

petion.... although sunday charging would make parking easier for people who want to nip into town..but parking should be free to city centre resident and certainly on after 6 on a night

Kieran LewisJuly 11th 2011.

What about all the areas that have double yellows which could easily be changed to parking bays? There are loads of them all over the city centre where there's absolutely no benefit to their being car-free. Just wasted areas that are used by neither pedestrians nor cars

1 Response: Reply To This...
Gary SeymourJuly 11th 2011.

This has been one of my "beefs" for many a year. I firmly believe that double yellow lines are now used solely to raise revenue, either by nicking motorists who park on them or by forcing them to find another, usually paid, parking place. There is absolutely no other reason for their existence in many places.

tblzebraJuly 11th 2011.

I agree Kieran, and find it interesting how many single yellow-lined sections of city centre streets have in recent months been doubled up.

I wonder why?

Harold HarmsworthJuly 11th 2011.

Why does any story to do with parking or cars seem to bring out the Daily Mail in people?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

becuase the immigrants are stealing our jobs. How can I pay the parking charges when OUR jobs are being nicked?!

I mourn the loss of Princess Diana

Gary SeymourJuly 11th 2011.

Basically I think we should have a right to park on the road free of charge, not only on a Sunday but anytime. Given the excessive level of taxation heaped on motorists in the UK coupled with the equally disgraceful return on investment (e.g. the general state of the roads) I really think to charge you to park up at the side of the road is just adding insult to injury.

Councils all over the country are taking the piss, it's as simple as that. One council will say it's to ease congestion, another will say it's to help traffic calming, yet another will say it's to (insert excuse here)....etc. etc. Perhaps if they came up with more efficient ways in which to spend the money they do get instead of dreaming up new schemes to get more when they have blown the last lot they might not find themselves in the crap quite so much.

Bottom line though is surely they are elected to do what the people want, not what they object to?

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

People get a grip! It's nothing to do with bloody congestion..it all boils down to the fact that parking is the biggest income for the council, and increasing the charging times is making them more money! Simples...
Also, I would like to also report that senior management within the council do get FREE parking in the City Centre..but within NCP car parks, and is given as part of the partnership..so they're alright!! :-)

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

"SB: Do council employees get any free parking currently, or will they once the Town Hall Extension is finished and First Street develops?

Cllr NM: As a council employee, we don’t get any parking provision, no. Of course we have parity. There’s no special treatment. As part of our green travel plans, we encourage staff to use public transport to get in. And there is free parking in the Town Hall for cycles. "

If what you say about free NCP places is true, does that means that the good councillor lied in his statement?

Do you have any proof to back this up?

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2011.

Yes the councillor lied. Anyone on about 50k upwards gets given a parking pass as part of their terms and conditions. Anonymous is right about this. If you're on a lower salary, and actually have to use your car for work, you pay for the parking yourself. Perks for senior management huh?

Peter LloydJuly 12th 2011.

Why are they REDUCING the number of bays around the under-construction-500-flat-student-castle development near to Oxford rod train station? They've recently got rid of over 15 spaces! (therefore depriving the council of significant funds under this new scheme)

So they want to improve traffic flow?


Mister TumbleJuly 12th 2011.

On street parking is designed for short term in-and-out parking and the pricing structure reflects that. Anyone who uses an on street bay for anything longer than an hour is either daft or rich and therefore should not be whinging. Stop wetting your pants you big babies and stick it in a multi storey.

MJuly 12th 2011.

I've always felt it a little strange that you can park in the bays around King Street for free on a Sunday. They're the most central parking spaces; shouldn't they cost more, not less than you're average multi-storey?

Most of these 2,000+ spaces must surely be on the periphery where you can park all day for £2-3 anyway. There can only be a few hundred bays in the Central Business District (pictured); many of which are quite rightly for the disabled.

I'd be interested in seeing a map of where all the spaces are. It seems people are fighting for free parking in the very central bays when the bulk of the parking (and charging) will be in locations not so convenient for shops and restaurants.

City centre residents will suffer the most, but you can blame that on the Planning department. I’ve lived in the city centre and visitor parking (particular secure, overnight parking) is a problem and this will certainly make things worse.

But this is all to solve congestion problems though? Pah! Manchester city centre doesn’t wake up until midday on a weekend. Why not offer free parking before 12 breathe life into the place in the AM? This won’t help 5pm mass exodus on Sundays either. The shops shut just an hour too early for people to stay for an evening meal.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

Councillor Murphy answered every question fully and fairly, and demonstrated the common sense behind the policy. The arguments against the parking charges are made by exactly those people who hog free spaces all day or all night. The alternative is to keep parking free, but limit the time one can park for to a couple of hours; but I suspect Mr Binns would oppose this!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
JohnthebriefJuly 12th 2011.

What's your job, Anonymous? Sub-editor on Pravda?

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

Actually, he didn't answer the questions fully:

"Cllr NM: During peak hours, we’ve got huge congestion. We’re extending the charging hours to help that traffic flow better."

And this was left hanging when he moved on to talk about pollution.

Just how will extending the charging hours to beyond the peak hours help with traffic flow AT peak hours?

AnonymousJuly 13th 2011.

It will reduce the rush of people trying to park for free for the whole evening (as often happens near the Opera House, etc) coming in at peak times, leading to a longer "rush hour" with reduced traffic. Obviously.

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 12th 2011.

Anonymous. That's a great idea. Free. But limited to two hours.

Calum McGJuly 12th 2011.

Keep fees as they are. The proposals are excessive.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

All this hot air is all very well but without any constructive action it's a waste of time. Petition!

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 12th 2011.

The petition will come soon dear Anon.

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

So I've just petitioned for a petition! Yay!

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 12th 2011.

Does that clear up your position on the petition or does it re-position your petition position?

Karen BoothroydJuly 12th 2011.

What i want to know is if it took him 20 mins from the Town hall to Hulme....

1. where was he parked?
2. Will be claim that cost on expenses?!

Which means im sure that WE will pay for it!

Petition please!!!

Nicky Rybka-GoldsmithJuly 12th 2011.

I concur ! petition please to keep the on street parking the way it was, can MCC not see that clearly the community within Manchester really DONT want these changes to take place, in the same vain as the congestion charge was quashed.

JohnthebriefJuly 12th 2011.

If as the Councillor says he and his colleagues don't have any private parking, what's that barricaded-off street down the side of the town hall?

AnonymousJuly 12th 2011.

One of the main reasons we have such appalling congestion is beacuse of the abysmal standard of traffic management. There is no co-ordination between traffic signals, road schemes are poorly thought out, cycle lanes for non existent cyclists, empty bus lanes whilst cars are gridlocked alongside them. What we need is some people in these positions who actually have some common sense, keeping traffic moving is hardly rocket science. We have a finite amount of road so we need to maximise its use and not create ridiculous restrictions and obstacles. As for increasing parking charges, this is just trying to fleece more money out of long suffering motorists. The council should be trying to get more people into town to help hard pressed businesses.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Steven AshleyJuly 17th 2011.

The only reason that there is congestion is due to the fact that the city council have placed yellow lines in every possible conurbatiuon, thereby making it impossible to park. Drivers spend hours driving around trying to find somewhere to park and that's what is causing the congestion.

John NuttallJuly 13th 2011.

The success of the recent campaign to destroy the vile News of the World has shown clearly how well harnessing social media and internet forums can work. If ManCon organises a petition against this council chicanery I suspect that the council will have a sudden change of heart when they are shown exactly how many people it will piss off

PhilboJuly 13th 2011.

I live in Hulme, and I walk into town. From the Zion Centre, I can be at the far end of Deansgate in 25 mins. We are getting residents parking round here soon, but not on the narrow street at the back of my block where the entrance to our car park is. People who work in town park so badly that it can be a squeeze to get the car down the street. If this increase in charges goes ahead, it's only going to get worse. I'm not trying to be selfish here, it's more the fact that if any of the houses behind my block caught fire, there would be bugger all chance of a fire engine of ambulance being able to reach them. The congestion won't be in town, but on the side roads of the ouskirts like Hulme/Cheetham Hill/Ancoats

AnonymousJuly 13th 2011.

Here's the details from the council website - the page is so well hidden that using the inbuilt search on 'parking changes' or 'proposed parking changes' doesn't return it, at least not in the first three pages of results.

Written objections must be made by 29th July.

SmudgeJuly 15th 2011.

This guy seems like a bit of a balloon, I'm not a driver but Mr. Murphys key point for the change seems to be 'There are more cars on the road at the busier times of day', which to be fair is a bang on observation which im quite surprised he by managed to reach by himself.

However surely thats going to be the case every rush hour? Im sure at them times when the roads are chocca people are more interested in getting home or into work than finding a space.

His 'different types of congestion' piece also proves just how mental and detached from reality these chaps are.

Steven AshleyJuly 17th 2011.

This barmy council tried to introduce charging to get into Manchester a year or so back and they were defeated, thank God. My friend who lives in Wirral made an interesting point. He wants to visit Manchester, so he has to pay £1.50 each way to go through the Mersey tunnel. Then he hits Liverpool city centre and possibly another charge if they were to emulate Manchester's charging proposals, then he'd have yet anther fee to pay when he arrived at the Manchester charge zone. A tidy little sum in additon to the cost of his etrol and the wera and tear on his car. It's an absolute nonsense.

Jill JillianJuly 18th 2011.

Before the congestion charge vote the council employed a company to carry out a survey to see if the public wanted it,they came back with the answer that seventy five per cent of the people did, when the vote was taken the result was a hundred per cent the other way.If the council paid the companies bill it can only mean they came up with the answer they were asked to, a council that underhand isn't going to take notice of any petition from the lowly community its supposed to represent

BlondeJuly 19th 2011.

Cllr: "I think the issue of residents having trouble is a red herring, When they move in, they know what the situation is. They’ve moved in with their eyes open."

Yes councillor, we did know the score when we moved in. But clearly you are now changing the rules.
Please do not be so blase and dismissive of the concerns of the city centre residents who you are supposed to represent. Please don't forget you are a public SERVANT elected to SERVE. Arrogance is so very hard to conceal isn't it councillor.

Good grilling Mr Binns, thank you.

anneiaJuly 21st 2011.

What a difficult interview. I see more conjestion on the ways around the arndale no cars of any sorts. They will kill the city to be honest. I fyou look around we have had a lot of shifting of busineses. The Trafford centre is easy to get to unless its XMAS it has lots of free parking space.

Coun murphy seems hell bent of getting rid of city centre businesses how Ludicrous is that. the near Cosmopolitan city which was up and coming is now being erroded. I have heard from folk who dont come into Mcr town now as they feel its shanged for the worsed.

I think behind this up charge of parking bays is because of the new plans for the Tram lines,the move of the Cenataph 7 any other hidden gems they havent told us of yet. The heavy traffic also on Deansgate has nothing to do with bays its because it a main line run from Mcr to Trafford. putting up prices, increasing times spent will have no difference to the flow of traffic. I see more problems due to Buses and the development of the piccadilly gardens area ANOTHER BRIGHT IDEA of some one who doesnt live in mcr.

A petition really needs to be started object to this as if it gets in it will be difficult to get out.
Its purley to generate funds thats the upshot.

EditorialJuly 21st 2011.

You'll find the petition in the blue button on the top right of this page

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2011.

The council couldn't give a monkeys about what residents think about this. The so-called consultation is lip service to the process, and only because they have to. It has nothing to do with congestion, as the council's own figures PROVE that congestion has fallen since 2008 (the failed CON charge bid). This has everything to do with trying to squeeze yet more money out of motorists, and has been regularly on the table now for 5 years. The government cuts have been a convenient excuse to introduce what they always planned to do.
As for the councillor saying that people drive to Mcr city centre because the Trafford Centre is "difficult" to get to; well I'd say that the TC is most certainly easier to get to, has more in it and the free parking generally makes it more attractive.

Jeff CAugust 8th 2011.

I pay over £200 a year in road tax, £1.40 a litre in petrol and I've just got my insurance renewal - fk me! That's gone up about 20%! Now these greedy bastards are trying to rob my spare change! I avoid going to town in the day because of the parking as it is, and even after 6pm it's hard work finding a spot. This makes absolutely no sense other than pulling in more money for those c***ts in the council. This is OUR city not the council's. When they handed NCP and Europarks their licence's to print money they could have just as easily imposed limits to what they could charge for parking - but they didn't think about us did they!? When they handed out the other license's to print money to developers building city centre apartments and offices, they could have asserted a need for parking in those new buildings, but they didn't did they? They are taking the absolute piss - again!

Remember the congestion charge to pay for the new tram lines? 87% of us said no (was a proud Manc that day) and now I see tram lines being built, which makes the council a bunch of liars - which isn't surprising since it's full of politicians. Imposing price increases really only deters those on less income, your footballers and millionaires are gonna give a fuck, so all the council are really doing is freeing up parking spaces for their rich mates. Driving around looking for a parking spot causes congestion AND pollution - FACT. If a car is parked it's not IN traffic so by definition it isn't traffic - thus not congesting said traffic - FACT. Don't piss down our legs and tell us it's raining - we get enough rain as it is.

AnonymousAugust 26th 2011.

I work weekends and travel from far, so i have to drive to avoid taking 2 buses (one doesn't even run when i finish work on Sunday). I need to park on the streets with 6pm free parking for a few hours. Why rob those with little money?

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