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Parking, again

Pay and display charges after 6pm get the bum's rush, but what about your own doorstep, asks Larry Neild

Published on August 17th 2010.

Parking, again

NO sooner had a council working party report suggested charging for evening parking in the city centre, Labour Cabinet regeneration member Malcolm Kennedy was forced to issue a statement saying street parking after 6pm will remain free.

Should Liverpool charge for permits? Of course we should. The working party is thinking in terms of £20 for each permit. I’d say that’s the bargain of a lifetime

Two years after Liverpool Confidential started a virtual roadside revolution when the idea was first mooted, it’s come back again, this time as one of the recommendations from a working party set up to look at parking issues.

Two years ago the city’s night time economy gave a resounding no, warning of the harm to the growing evening leisure trade of making people pay.

Would you feed four quid into a city centre meter at the start of a night out? Or would you say, nah, we’ll hire a video get a bottle of wine and stay in, or go up to the Odeon at Switch Islansd

Few cities charge for evening parking because they want to encourage people to spend, spend, spend in restaurants, theatres, cinemas and bars, workplaces for thousands of people.

Another recommendation from the Parking Scrutiny Panel, though, has a wider implication. Should people living in areas where there are resident parking schemes have to pay for their permits?

Liverpool is one of the few major cities to still offer free permits. Ye the cash-strapped council pays over £500,000 a year to administer residents parking schemes.

Should Liverpool charge for permits? Of course we should. The working party is thinking in terms of £20 for each permit. I’d say that’s the bargain of a lifetime.Currently people living in and around Allerton Road and leafy L18 AND L19 are demanding residents parking schemes.

Why should car-less families in Dovecot and Norris Green, through their council tax, pay the cost of enabling two-car residents of ‘Muesli Hill’ to have exclusive parking rights?

Go to Manchester and it will set you back as much as £347 if you live in the city centre.

There are around 42,500 permits so far issued by the city council and if each paid £20 it would rake in £850,000 – more than paying the running costs.

I don’t like residents’ parking schemes unless they are absolutely necessary and even then until every other available option (enforcement, etc) has been attempted.

My theory is that one day every part of Liverpool will be covered by residents parking schemes, and none of us will need cars. Because when we leave our own street there will be nowhere we can legally park.

People demanding permit schemes need to realise traffic wardens don’t take prisoners or turn a blind eye. Nor should they. If you have a birthday party and your partygoers park, without displaying one of the gold-dust permits, they risk being fined.

Each house will receive a permit for each vehicle registered at that address and also have a single visitor permit that should be displayed on the visitor’s car to avoid a penalty ticket.

A one-guest party may seem ideal for Mr Bean, but is that what the rest of us really want to see?

Family visits, for ever more, would have to be organised with military precision to ensure nobody risked a ticket, or even worse having their car towed away to a faraway compound.

And that initial £20 ‘to cover administrative charges’ could soon start to rise as it becomes apparent it is represents a pot of roadside gold.

Will it happen? Look at the charge overs charge for residents’ parking permits: York £88, Chester £60, Sheffield £36, Glasgow £350 city centre, others £135, Edinburgh £160 city centre, others £80, Cambridge £50, Bristol £50, Birmingham £180.

The Beatles may have sung “the best things in life are free”. But sadly in their hometown that won’t extend to free parking for much longer.

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