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Residents Hit In City Centre Parking Row

Paul Berentzen on a dilemma for city centre residents

Written by . Published on November 10th 2011.

Residents Hit In City Centre Parking Row

PARKING permits for residents living in the city centre are “not fit for purpose”, according to a city councillor. 

“If, in six or twelve months after implementation, the negative effects people feared have come to fruition, we need to look at it again.” 

Councillor Kevin Peel told Confidential that recent changes to on-street parking had left residents whose only option is to park on the street out of pocket. 

Under the current scheme only about 30 residents have a parking permit, which allows them free parking at weekends and after 5pm during the week. 

“It’s a joke,” said Cllr Peel. “The scheme was not properly advertised and it’s inflexible.” 

While fellow Labour councillors may see this as an attack on the party, Cllr Peel defended his comments by saying his views are shared by the council.

He said: “I don’t think anybody is saying the current scheme is good. That’s why the council has been so responsive. 

“I think if it was seen as stepping out of line we wouldn’t be getting a new scheme.” 

The strict eligibility criteria for getting a permit mean many city centre residents do not qualify. 

Councillor Nigel Murphy, executive member for the environment, admitted there were flaws in the current system and said they hope to announce details of a new scheme shortly. 

“Parking has always been and will always be an issue for people who choose to live in the city centre,” he said. “It would be impossible for us to provide a parking space for every one of the city centre's 20,000 residents.” 

Prior to 24 October, parking on the street was free after 6pm and all day on Sunday. Now drivers have to pay until 8pm every day. 

Previously, city centre residents coming home from work after 6pm could park on the street overnight free of charge. They now have to wait until 8pm to use the parking spaces or pay for the privilege. 

While Cllr Peel has said he is working to revise the residents’ parking scheme and relax the eligibility criteria, such changes will take time. 

Confidential reader Stephen Douglas, responding to a previous article, said he doesn’t qualify for a parking permit because his block of flats has off-street spaces, even though he doesn’t have one himself. 

He said: “The impact on residents was simply not taken into consideration, and I for one cannot afford to pay to park seven days per week for the several months it will take to resolve.” 

Cllr Peel told Confidential: “I think that’s really unfortunate that residents are going to have to pay this. 

“I had hoped to see the new residents’ parking scheme come in at the same time at the same time as the other changes.” 

He added that his plans for a new scheme would mean the only requirements for getting a permit would be that the resident owns a car and does not already have their own secure space. 

“I hope the city centre residents will be very happy with that,” he said. 

A new scheme is expected to materialise early next year. 

Cllr Murphy said: “In the meantime, we'll aim to be as flexible as possible towards those residents who request permits.” 

Meanwhile, many people have expressed concerns that the changes to on-street parking will have a wider negative effect on trade in the city. 

Respondents to the council’s own survey and Confidential readers (more than 6,000 in a petition) alike stated their belief that shoppers would opt for places like the Trafford Centre over the city centre. 

In response to the previous article, Lisa Cragg posted: “I only ever go shopping in the city centre on a Sunday as it's free parking. Looks like the Trafford Centre will be getting my money from now on.” 

Shabob1 said: “I will go to other places like the Reebok or Trafford Centre which is a shame because I really like Manchester but genuinely can't afford to go.” 

The changes were made in response to increasing congestion in the city centre, particularly on Sundays, but Cllr Peel said it is important to monitor their impact. 

“It’s too early to tell the impact of the changes,” he said. 

“If, in six or twelve months after implementation, the negative effects people feared have come to fruition, we need to look at it again.” 


Background Info: 

Before 24 Oct, on-street parking charges applied Mon-Sat, from 8am-6pm.

Now parking charges are in force from 8am-8pm every day.

Vehicle owners can no longer pay per 15 minutes but must pay per 30 minutes.

Parking charges went up from £2.20 to £2.70 per hour on 27 June 2011. 

The residents’ permit shortens the window when charges apply to 9am - 5pm during the week. This effectively exempts residents working a regular 9-5 job from parking fees (outside of the cost of the permit itself).

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

Stephen DouglasNovember 10th 2011.

I actually made such a noise about this that a week ago the council lifted the eligibility criteria for people in my boat (i.e. we live in a block of flats where some of the other flats have parking spaces), as an interim measure until the new permit comes into effect. I've checked and this applies to others, not just me. Permits will be limited and demand will be monitored by Highway Services at the council, so there's no guarantee that everybody who wants one will be able to get one.

The argument that seemed to convince them was actually not the cost. It was that I would have to get up at 8am on a Saturday and move my car into a car park (as I couldn't leave it on the street for more than 2 hours even if I were willing to pay the meter), then pay for 12 hours and then at exactly 8pm I'd have to go and move it back on to the street, meaning I couldn't e.g. go and see a film or go for a meal before 8pm. I'd then have to repeat the procedure on Sunday, and I said I didn't think it was reasonable to have the council dictate my entire weekend in this manner.

I'm guessing various councillors were unaware of this given some of the quotes in the article.

Finally, it's a shame this article didn't mention the reason for the charges. As admitted by various councillors in public, the scheme is to pay for the pedestrianisation of Canal Street and has nothing to do with reducing parking congestion at peak times.

Caspar NelsonNovember 10th 2011.

I have recently moved out of the city centre but I'm of the opinion that if you want to live in town then you should be prepared to pay to park you car. NCP actually offer a pretty good deal to residents. We parked in the NCP car park on Turner Street for £48 per month on an off peak basis. Very reasonable in my book and a discount of about 80% I believe.

If parking is high on your consideration list but you are not willing to pay for it it may be time to move out of town to a house with a drive.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasNovember 10th 2011.

I enquired with NCP about residents permits and they told me the cheapest they had was Chester Street, at £72 / month. My nearest NCP car park is £286 / month! (and those are residents rates)

Those are 24/7 permits, they told me that they no longer offer off-peak residents permits.

AnonymousNovember 23rd 2011.

That must have been years ago Caspar, as i rang NCP and i got similar rates to Stephen (£250+ pcm!).

They should have left the on-street parking times as they were.

Simon SmithNovember 10th 2011.

Other easy solutions include not owning a car or parking for free a short distance outside the city centre and walking, cycling or getting a taxi to and from your car.

The council is not dictating anything to city centre residents. Their inconveniences regarding car parking are dictated by their own desire to live in the city centre and to own a car, both of which are entirely voluntary.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasNovember 10th 2011.

But if you already had a car and then the council changes the rules, that's different to either moving into the city centre with those rules already in place or alternatively buying a car once you live in the city centre.

I would agree that it's voluntary if you move here now, but that's not the case for me - I moved here in 2000.

Simon SmithNovember 11th 2011.

I own a car. I have off-road parking for three, possibly four. Just as in the city centre I'd have to pay for permission to park on the public road outside my house during peak hours, something I don't do because of my private driveway.

The charges for parking outside my house during peak hours were introduced 7 years after I bought my it. Times change, and I didn't buy the road outside my house or any rights to it, so I had no cause to complain when circumstances changed.

People who buy housing with no space to store their car should not expect the public to guarantee the parking rules on the road outside their homes for all time. Public space on public roads is for the public to decide what to do with at any time it wishes.

There's only one way to guarantee a parking space for your car - buy one. That's what I did. My house cost more than others nearby which have no driveway.

AnonymousNovember 10th 2011.

The knock on effect of this is that people are parking on streets just outside the city centre and walking in ,the people of Hulme are pulling their hair out it won't be long before there serious altercation .

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 10th 2011.

Altercation about what exactly? It's perfectly legal to park on a street so long as you obey the parking restrictions and don't block entry or exit. Hulme is as near as dammit to the city *centre* - you cannot expect that convenience without some inconvenience. Same could be said about those city centre residents having a moan. Live in the city and accept all that it offers - everything on your doorstep, a quick walk to work etc., no need for as car - or move to the suburbs and buy a house with a garage

AnonymousNovember 11th 2011.

someone doesn't live in the real world ,people want to park out side their own houses.The city centre as near as dammit ,it is or it isn't ,and it isn't so don't infect it with the city's problems ,we' haven't spent years and a lot of money changing it for the good ,just so some tin pot dictators can fund their own crazy scheme's

PyroNovember 11th 2011.

I'm affraid that lack of parking is one of the prices you have to pay for living int he city centre - you can't have your cake and eat it so to speak......

One of the main benefits of city centre living is that you don't need a car - just hire one as and when cycle / use the train.

And stop whining!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Kevin PeelNovember 11th 2011.

You clearly don't understand city centre living...

Stephen DouglasNovember 12th 2011.

Yeah, sure, I'll get the train at 3am when I get called out to work. Well thought out, Pyro.

John GordonNovember 11th 2011.

We have a parking permit scheme in the so called ardwick ward although we are in m13 post code which is chorlton upon medlock, no one in our house drives and we don't have regular visitors that drive, we would like just one visitor permit but this is impossible, despite the fact that their are huge areas empty of cars the council think this was a good idea, it isn't, it isn't wanted and it isn't needed, every single day we have pointless visits by parking attendants ready to fine people on the empty streets, what a waste of money, yes the city centre needs to be managed but the suburbs do not, please get rid, waste of time, waste of money, public nuisance. Some of the roads around where I live are some of the most unkept I have ever seen in the whole of the UK and the council wants to charge visitors for the privilege to park in a pot hole, shame on you. It makes me sick and I don't even drive. Good luck.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2011.

Simon Smith has this spot on - Living in the centre of Manchester you should not expect to be able to park your car unless you have a private parking space. Just because you live there now and have a permit to park doesn't mean things won't change in time!

The article itself clearly states there are 20,000 resident in the city centre - If these people were all given a permit to park there would be nowhere for visitors to park!

If you want easy parking, don't CHOOSE to live in the centre of one of the largest cities in the UK.

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

anon - you'll find there's a vast majority of this 20k (not sure I agree with this figure) don't need or want to drive. However, there are those that do and its the flexibility to be able to have a workable and usable system. If you don't have a £20k space (many flats can't offer a space per flat due to previous planning issues) then you need to look at options. Some can afford to rent a £100 pm space but others cant afford that and these are the residents we need to look after.
It's a little naive to also state, "don't like it, move away" - I did as I stared a family and the City wasn't right for us any more which is natural demographic progression. Measures like this may add to an unnatural balance and cause more of a problem. I think all that is being asked for is a sensible provision for City Centre residents like most major european cities have in place. I don' think the answer is to tell all car driving residents not to live in the city.

Simon SmithNovember 11th 2011.

Michael, from what you say it seems that there is already sensible provision - for £100 per month.

What you seem to want is free provision.

If somone can afford to live in the city centre and to own a car too it's a bit much to expect anyone else to chip in to help them with parking provision.

Parking charges are a part of the costs of owning a car, just like petrol or insurance. If you can't afford parking fees it's time to reconsider car ownership or how you can adjust your lifestyle to reduce these costs.

Simply asking that the public provide you with free or subsidised parking when you've chosen to live in a busy and crowded area is as selfish and unrealistic as asking for the public to provide you with cheap petrol just because you choose to live far from your workplace or friends and relatives.

Stephen DouglasNovember 12th 2011.

It's not the charges, it the changes to charges once people already own or rent a flat and own a car.

AnonymousNovember 23rd 2011.

Visitors should use the NCP car parks.

The residents should be able to park outside their apartments.

urbanbubbleNovember 11th 2011.

Michael here from urbanbubble. The feedback we're getting is terrible. Whilst it has sorted some of the dangerous and annoying parking on Sundays around Piccadilly and TNQ, residents are frustrated and costs are astronomical. More worrying is most people are heading to the Trafford Centre for there christmas shopping as Car Parking is full at weekends. Free at TTC.
MCC - do not wait for 8 - 12 months when you'll have 4 times the work to do to get people back into the city. Look at Altrincham. Sure, completely different scale but you have other obligations to residents, business and visitors than just filling a budget gap.

Please bring in a residents parking system for 1st Jan 2012 and if you want http://www.urbanbubble.co.uk to help with focus groups, collating views, running options past city residents - please just ask and I would be happy to facilitate.

Lets hope something gets done about this eh.

urbanbubbleNovember 11th 2011.

sorry for the rubbish english... i was rushing their!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Brian SewellNovember 11th 2011.


Andy VoNovember 11th 2011.

In a step in the other direction, I note that in an effort to increase footfall into the town centre, Oldham Council are offering free parking in all of the council owned car parks on Saturdays. Bravo.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2011.

Can someone please provide a link to apply for a parking permit. I wasnt aware there was one until now. Apologies if this has already been covered and i've missed it. Thanks

1 Response: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasNovember 12th 2011.


There's a link on the top right to apply, although you'll still need to take your V5C and a recent utility bill to the pound in Ardwick to get your permit.

Jill JillianNovember 11th 2011.

Does the money from parking tickets £35 go into the same fund as the money from the meters and park carks

1 Response: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasNovember 12th 2011.

Yes, it's meant to go into the Parking Reserve, which is meant to pay for parking improvements. If none are needed then the council is allowed to use it for other transport improvements - whether the Canal St Pedestrianisation scheme counts is very, very dubious.

They certainly aren't allowed to use it to e.g. offset cuts from central government - that would actually be illegal for them to do.

James SpencerNovember 11th 2011.

Yes Jill and it can only be used for traffic relevant expenditure parking accidents reducing congestion etc.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2011.

i live in a flat in the city centre. i don't own a vehicle as i dont need one for my personal life, but i use a van for work purposes. i leave at 7am every weekday so i'm covered in the mornings but when i return at 6pm i am required to pay £5.40 per night for two hours parking outside my flat. i don't work saturdays or sundays but i still have my works van. this means i need to get up at 7:45am over the weekend to move it and i therefore need to be available and sober to move it again at 8pm. i didn't choose to have a vehicle but i do choose to work for my money. i feel the council have been a little hasty with this decision. oh, and where were the signs?! that's right, they were on the parking metres, the only place you're not going to visit if you're used to free parking after 6pm.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2011.

Saw someone get a ticket at 7.58 on a thursday night on Liverpool rd,how can that be right

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

Because it was before 8pm, at a guess.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2011.

there's always one smart ar*e! yes it was befor 8pm (by a whopping two minutes) - if you or anyone was fined £35-45 for such a minor thing i dont think you'd shrug it off with such an obnoxious reply. the council need to offer a reasonabke alternative to the council tax paying residence. it isn't always so black & white.

Stephen DouglasNovember 12th 2011.

I once got a ticket at 8:03, when I got a phone call just as I was leaving in the morning.

Do you know if the driver of the car in question had paid the meter (and over-ran it), or just neglected to pay the meter? Not that it matters in the eyes of the council, I'm just curious.

AnonymousNovember 13th 2011.

no ,he wasn't aware of the new rules ,as the only sign is on the tcket machine,which in his eyes he had no reason to go near

James SpencerNovember 11th 2011.

First for a long time now new builds and conversions have to have one space per apartment. The charge for these may be bundled in the service charges or separate. Mine is £60pm. I have a separate lease for the space in in theory it is tradable. 11 years ago I paid £15000 for it. Recently one has changed hands for £20000.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Stephen DouglasNovember 12th 2011.

That's applied since 2004, I believe.

Jill JillianNovember 12th 2011.

Could it be that the council know we are going to vote in favour of an elected major, so those with vested interests are milking us now to get their pet projects through before they bite the dust ,just a thought

Isabella JacksonNovember 12th 2011.

Of course the new parking restrictions had nowt to do with collecting more money



peeNovember 12th 2011.

I do still think it will be bad for city centre business charging after 6 and on Sundays. Ill thought out, ill advised.
Can confidential please try and get a hold though freedom of information, how much council pulled in during first week? Agree it was poorly advertised. They have access to plenty of poster sites around town, did they use them? Nah, stuck a tiny sticker on the meter instead

AnonymousNovember 13th 2011.

Since the parking charges have been brought in there seems to be hardly any cars coming into town on a weekend (I live by 1st Street) - I don't think this means congestion has been reduced, I think it means people are going elsewhere.

IzzyNovember 15th 2011.



Councillors Kevin Peel and Smyth Harper, have you anything to say in response????

2 Responses: Reply To This...
is it me?November 21st 2011.

..or since when do you as an employee pay for your parking if you are using a car TO DO YOUR JOB?

Planning officers, social services etc who need a car to get to where they need to go clearly require free parking. So it's a non-story.

The thing is, have they not needed a car in the past? Did they not park for free in the past (and claim)?

So it's a non-story!

MCC employees how do not fit the above category and receive the the benefit of free parking (from now on) are the ones who should be named and shamed.

That would be a story...

is it me?November 21st 2011.

how who

AnonymousNovember 15th 2011.

The report says that NCP are reducing their charge to the Council is that because we are paying the difference

AnonymousNovember 25th 2011.

I am in Manchester most Sundays and I have noticed that the changes to the parking times has resulted in there being no cars parking in the streets at all. However there is ample space now for disabled drivers. They can park in two or three spaces at once if they want. The streets are practically empty. I spoke to one of the traffic wardens about the change as I think he would have a good understanding of the day-to-day effects. The warden stated that he didn't think is was a good idea and it would not work. He also noticed that a lot of people were not coming into Manchester anymore. I have been coming into Manchester each Sunday for the last year and I have never noticed any congestion problems or had any problems parking. I guess now any possible congestion problems are fully resolved, it's a ghost town. I personally think it is a very bad idea and it is having a bad affect on businesses and residents in Manchester. If the council is trying to raise money then it will take them a long time as they must not have realised that people can park for free in the Trafford Centre and that the blue badges do not have to pay when they park in Manchester. If the council are going wait 6 months before they are going to review it, I guess Manchester has lost my business for this period. The Manchester council should be working to help encourage Sunday shopping in Manchester in light of the economic climate not help stamp it out.

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