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Victory: Confidential Readers' Petition Helps Overturn Parking Plans

On-street parking fee extension delayed

Written by . Published on August 18th 2011.

Victory: Confidential Readers' Petition Helps Overturn Parking Plans

SENSE HAS won out.

The city council has delayed the proposed plans to extend on-street parking hours in Manchester city centre. These would have extended parking hours seven days a week, 8am-8pm, rather than the present 8am-6pm on six days. Thus on-street charges would have been applied on Sunday for the first time.

Cllr Nigel Murphy told us: “We recognise that many Manchester Confidential readers have given their clear view on the proposals and we want to assure you that we are listening."

The council was sent a 6,300 strong Manchester Confidential petition from businesses, workers, residents and visitors on Tuesday 16 August.

Businesses in opposition included key operators and independents across every sector; restaurants, shops, legal, financial, property and so forth. These businesses thought the extension of the parking charges would damage the city centre's viability and put jobs and businesses further at risk in uncertain times. 

Cllr Nigel Murphy told us: “We recognise that many Manchester Confidential readers have given their clear view on the proposals and we want to assure you that we are listening. 

“I’ve always said that nothing is set in stone, and that we’re that we’re willing to adapt our plans. The delay in implementing the proposals gives us the opportunity to review them.” 

Our petition by the way, contained almost three times the votes cast in the city centre ward during May 2011's local elections.

The council also cite as a another reason for the present halt on implementation of charges the looting and disruption on Tuesday 9 August. 

Cllr Murphy says: "The decision (will) help businesses recover as we drive home the message that the city is open for business as usual." 

The strength of feeling evidenced by Manchester Confidential readers and petitioners makes it clear that riot or not, the on-street parking extensions were not supported by the majority of businesses in the city centre. It also made it clear that council arguments about needing extra hours of charging to ease traffic flows and prevent congestion were thought nonsense by most people.

Our petition contained almost three times the votes cast in the city centre ward during May's local elections.

Manchester city council has shown good sense and good grace in coming to this decision.

But it is still being mealy mouthed. The council should ditch the implementation of the proposals permanently and unequivocally on the grounds of response to local democracy. And they should say that it was democracy in action from its own citizens that forced its hand, in no way assisted by the yobbery of a small number of local people.

A hearty thanks to all our readers who signed the petition. 

(Click here to add text)

For background to this story:

We let the locals have their say here.

We let the City Council have their say here.

We’ve explained and commented on the measures here and satirised them here

What city centre congestion?What city centre congestion?




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

Simon TurnerAugust 18th 2011.

Well done to the Council for listening. Next stop - NCP, for definite, and the private operators.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ian BlakesleyAugust 18th 2011.

very good point my man, why cannot the city council levy a standard and fair charging structure for all car parks in the city centre, on a maximum charge basis, arguably that this ripples out from the centre and reduces based on proximity to it. It is not a difficult principle to implement and operate.

LauraAugust 18th 2011.

It's only delayed though, not cancelled. The Council should make that gesture.

Stephen BAugust 18th 2011.

Sensible decision. Well done to the council. I agree with the article to mention the riots seems knee-jerk, it would have been better for them if they'd just said they'd got this wrong.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Good. as a business owner in the city centre this makes so much sense.

HowieAugust 18th 2011.

Nice hat by the way Mark!

FurFoxAcheAugust 18th 2011.

I signed the petition but thought it would be like pi**sing in the wind. Good result for everyone. Lets hope we can all keep on top of this and ensure the delay actually means it gets cancelled.

Smyth Harper, Manchester City CouncilAugust 18th 2011.

For clarity, the delay in implementation is just that - a delay. We've taken that decision as a result of last week's disorder. To quote Cllr Murphy fully on this, he said:

"Last week’s riots were some of the worst scenes of violence the city centre has ever seen and extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures.

"We don't feel it's the right time to implement these proposals, and have put the decision on hold to help businesses recover as we drive home the message that the city is open for business as usual."

We're delaying the changes, not shelving them. The delay is likely to be for a couple of months.

What we are doing is reviewing the proposals in the light of the strong feelings that have been expressed. The delay means we can better think through how we can adapt them. To be clear, we're adapting them, not scrapping them. Which is what Cllr Murphy says in the article.

We're not being mealy mouthed with you - we're being straight.

Smyth Harper
Head of News
Manchester City Council

7 Responses: Reply To This...
Colin SwinneyAugust 18th 2011.

Your comment above comes across rather arrogant and you are not being straight you are being dictatorial. Dont review the parking, just leave it as it is at least. Thats what businesses have asked for in this petition.

Ian BlakesleyAugust 18th 2011.

Mr Harper, tahnk you for your kind words. Whatever prompted you to re-think this is irrespective, if it is using the riots to re-think a silly proposal, great, i don't really care, i work in business and we use what we can to do the right thing at times. If indeed, as i suspect you will, completely abandon this idea, then the reason is immaterial, the decision is what matters.
MCC has a reputation as being arrogant, i know, we have had many problems with your planners, and we have had to move across borders to provide a much needed service to the citizens of your city, we deal with people with substance misuse issues, there are a few on your streets, working with more amenable councils.
If you are unsure, please take a drive up to the lakes district towns out of season and see how empty they are, the 'to let' boards, the number of businesses closing and just speak to local businesses up there as to their thoughts on their councils penny pinching charges for parking that is killing their towns.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Mr Harper, you state that delaying the implementation of the increased charges will help businesses recover after the riots. Surely this then implies that your current parking proposal would be detrimental to city centre businesses had the riots haf not occurred?

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

1. I'd be sacked as the PR manager of a very well established banking institution if I issued the above statement 2. Does MCC truly believe the new proposals will not have a detrimental effect on the businesses in the city centre? If so, this so-called democratic council should be sacked for one reason only - insanity.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Well Mr Harper, if these proposals do go ahead then the city council can be proud of devasting businesses more than the rioters. I live north of Manchester and commute daily to my job in Cheshire. I often call into the city centre on the way home to go to the gym/shop/socialise, but if the parking charges are implemented I'll take my business elsewhere.

James KayAugust 18th 2011.

Come on Mr. Harper, explain yourself. Cllr Murphy said, "We don't feel it's the right time to implement these proposals, and have put the decision on hold to help businesses recover as we drive home the message that the city is open for business as usual." Conversely, implementing the new charges will send a message that the City is CLOSED and will send businesses in to decline!

urbanbubbleAugust 19th 2011.

Mr Harper,
Michael Howard here, MD at urbanbubble. The increase in parking charges has already hampered most around the Northern Quarter and Piccadilly, now paying 65p for 15 mins whereas we got 30 mins for 55p previously. More than doubled. Get your moral compass out and start supporting businesses and the public you serve rather than building up your coffers.

AndrewRAugust 18th 2011.

This is good news, but I agree that the Council should acknowledge that it was the residents, businesses etc that have also brought this decision not the idiots that rioted.
The Council are accepting it, but ignoring us....as per usual.

Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 18th 2011.

There was no mention of two months in the press release we received over night.

Andrea TimoneyAugust 18th 2011.

Brilliant news!! However, I wholeheartedly agree that they should scrap these ludicrous plans altogether. Forget the shelf, dash em in the bin!!!

AnnaAugust 18th 2011.

Great news, lets hope they scrap it completely :-)

BeakerAugust 18th 2011.

Whether it's over the riot or the petition or simple common sense, scrap the ideas and add no further burdens to the city centre businesses

Marlainy PopAugust 18th 2011.

That's made my day! Sense prevails......at least for now.

Colin SwinneyAugust 18th 2011.

Why was there a confusion in the first place. I thought the increase was to 8pm only . When was it changed to 24 hours 365 days? However, apart from Mr Harpers comment at the Council above, its a start to getting the Town Hall to listen. Is the Councilor suggesting that the riots did business a favour!!!? Is that the riot message to give!!!!!

Gary ThomlinsonAugust 18th 2011.

Hmm not convinced... Everything I read said that they'd delayed the plans due to the rioting, no mention was made of the petition making a difference..

JamesAugust 18th 2011.

That's the problem with including the riots in this decision Colin. Good point

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Surely postponing the changes "to help businesses recover" is an acknowledgement that these changes will be damaging to city centre businesses??! I'm not convinced that the petition has had the impact on the council that it deserves.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Colin SwinneyAugust 18th 2011.

Are you suggesting they dont want to listen anyway! Surely not!

Tom WrightAugust 18th 2011.

If Manchester City Council are serious about giving traders and business owners a hand to rebuild their businesses, they should take a leaf out of Rochdale Council's book, who, at the very start of this recession scrapped parking charges after 3pm (www.rochdale.gov.uk/…/parking.aspx…). It appears that Rochdale MBC are genuinely concerned with the local economy and actually want people to visit their town centre, unlike Manchester who are trying to line their pockets through the back door, and come out all gracious when they get challenged on a policy that is clearly misguided and wrong.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
CBAugust 18th 2011.

Have you ever been to Rochdale town centre Tom?

Tom WrightAugust 19th 2011.

Yes, CB, I live there! But your own feelings about Rochdale Town Centre are in this case irrelevant. The point I was making, but obviously not clearly enough for you is that if a small authority like Rochdale can make a positive policy decision on parking that (even if in some small way) encourages people to visit the town centre, then why can't Manchester City Council do the same? It's not as if MCC needs the extra cash from increased parking charges anyway, not after agreeing a £20m deal to allow Manchester City to change the name of the stadium www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-14094515…

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Don't know about Rochdale but if they are postponing this now then why not permanently. Have they news of an economic recovery soon - something that others including the government don't seem to have.

Weby72August 18th 2011.

So the rioters have temporarily saved us from the parking charge increases. Gorbless the young scalliwags.

It also gives us a tip on what we need to do if we want to -ahem- *delay* any future arsewitted Council ideas: we riot. Hazaar!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
MaggieAugust 18th 2011.

Careful Weby - you can get four years in clink for rabble-rousing............x

MaggieAugust 18th 2011.

Careful Weby, you can get four years in clink for rabble-rousing...........

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

PS - just want to add, I'm not in any way inciting or encouraging people to riot.

I want to be clear, cos I don't want a pair of Standard Issue kicking in my door in the wee small hours as the Thought Police come to arrest me for daring to express an opinion - jokingly or otherwise - that isn't completely condemnatory about the riots and participants thereof.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

PPS - that was me; the 'Post as' thing seems to have developed a life of its own.

MARTIN WEBSTERAugust 18th 2011.


Nicky Rybka-GoldsmithAugust 18th 2011.

Brilliant work! 6300 sign the petition through Man Con which I find incredible, a big sigh of relief for our magnificent manchester city centre

David TysonAugust 18th 2011.

"We don't feel it's the right time to implement these proposals, and have put the decision on hold to help businesses recover as we drive home the message that the city is open for business as usual."

So the council is admitting that introducing parking charges will be detrimental to city centre business and that introducing extended parking will mean that the city isn't open for business as usual.

There must surely be some sort of legal ramification for a council who wantonly and brazenly admits that measures they are bringing will be detrimental to the people and businesses they are supposed to serve!!

It's time the council remembered that they are Public Servants.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Here, here David

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

or even "hear, hear"

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

So far every person who objected had given valid reasons for their opposition and yet, the MCC had not managed to convince its own citizens of the purpose behind the proposals. If the democratic council really thinks that the perceived detrimental impact of such proposals will not seriously affect businesses and the city, then they should all be held personally accountable i.e. if we the voice of reason was proven right, the whole council should be forced to resign and rendered unfit for purpose.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

So far every person who objected had given valid reasons for their opposition and yet, the MCC had not managed to convince its own citizens of the purpose behind the proposals. If the democratic council really thinks that the perceived detrimental impact of such proposals will not seriously affect businesses and the city, then they should all be held personally accountable i.e. if we the voice of reason was proven right, the whole council should be forced to resign and rendered unfit for purpose.

1 Response: Reply To This...
CBAugust 18th 2011.

yeah that seems like a really logical and well thought out idea based on one proposal amongst thousands.

Chris CollinsAugust 18th 2011.

The Council should follow the lead of other areas who have reduced parking fees - that will bring people back into the town centre! It is time they listened to the people who pay their wages.

None Of Us R Perfick!August 18th 2011.

Well done to all of us who signed!

BTW 'almost three times the total amount of votes'....no! It's a number of votes not an amount - plural v. singular. I do despair when people like youselves make this basic error....same with 'less' instead of 'fewer', and several others too. I know it's very common in speech these days but in print......aaaaaagh!

Please set a proper example and uphold good English....and employ a decent proof reader?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Colin SwinneyAugust 18th 2011.

LOL!! But whats your opinion on the parking charges!! Or should that be "what's"

EditorialAugust 18th 2011.

You're right. Changed. We try our best, but day by day journalism is more prone to these errors. No excuse of course. Thanks for pointing it out.

Sharon MchughAugust 18th 2011.

I suggest like councils who love all to put everything 'out to tender' in purchasing beaurocracy gone wrong - suggest we put the council out to tender for their own jobs i.e. don’t vote for them next year. They seem to forget that Manchester's history is down to its true democracy which has led from the front, it’s about time they listened to the majority and not the minority i.e. themselves who don’t shop, live or breathe except here and disappear after their flexitime back to the suburbs!!!!!!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Simon TurnerAugust 18th 2011.

The Council are put out to tender, regularly. Heard of something called Local Elections? Voted for by "the majority" in a big way.

CBAugust 18th 2011.

I have also heard about the Councillors who don't breathe unless they are in 'a suburb'. Shocking don't you think?

Colin SwinneyAugust 18th 2011.

Yes! Local Council Elections!! We should vote for Manchester Confidential!!

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

I think most of the Council does good work, I think most of the councillors are committed to making the city better. I just sometimes wish they'd have the humility to say we were wrong let's just abandon this direction. I have a lot of admiration for Manchester's administration and how it's led the city but that humility can be missing.

Sharon MchughAugust 18th 2011.

i agree with you - they should admit when they are wrong however - it should not have gone this far, nor should it be down to 'rioting' to put a stall on this. I think they need to be more democratic and involve the community (and business') in these sensitive issues, rather than being autocratic and quite arrogant in their policies (hence the arrogance in not admitting it was the wrong thing to do).

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

"The delay is likely to be for a couple of months". So for a couple of months I'll continue to patronise Manchester city centre, but after that I'm voting with my feet (well, tyres).

Shocking to see that democracy has no effect on council decisions and that thousands of names on a petition supported by eloquent and reasonable argument from a cross-section of the community makes no difference but violence and mindless destruction does.

The pen might be mightier than the sword but it seems it must bow a lout with a brick...

Jill JillianAugust 18th 2011.

Get real people it was never going to happen its like putting a notice up saying "Sale on - prices up" it was, or is ,a devious way of panicking businesses into using empty properties and sites for more car parks ,i know of at least five places that are doing it

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

I only hope this is a tactic to in the end delay and postpone and then retract completely. If it isn't there will be a lot of disappointed people.

Hardy FrankAugust 18th 2011.

Don't hold your breath Anon. But if it isn't then it will have been cynical and pointless tactic hidden beneath a reaction to a petition and a riot.

Peter ReganAugust 18th 2011.

"We're delaying the changes, not shelving them. The delay is likely to be for a couple of months". Just in time to ruin Christmas. Well done MCC

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Sharon, I work for the council and I shop, live and breath Manchester - just like many of my colleagues also do...

However, I will admit that I have never supported these plans and did sign the petition - again like many of my colleagues

1 Response: Reply To This...
Colin SwinneyAugust 18th 2011.

Hey Anon, put yourself up for the next Local Elections. Someone in the Council with a real perspective.

funboi123August 18th 2011.

6,300 signatures??? Is that it? Im not being funny but I thought Man Con had more readers than that... let alone how many people live in Manchester city centre with cars. Its not wonder they're only 'shelving it'.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

I suppose not all readers convert to signatures, in the same way that not all elections have 100 per cent turnout of voters.

Not a bad effort I'd say. Clearly made the council take notice.

EditorialAugust 18th 2011.

FunboI123 we think more than 6,000 people filling in address, name and contact details is pretty impressive. For your info according to Google Stats we had more than 160,000 absolute unique visitors in the last month.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
urbanbubbleAugust 19th 2011.

MC - think a fair point has been made here though. I would have expected more. My big gripe were costs whihc have gone ahead. As long as resident parking provision is sorted, then I think Monday to Sunday on street parking charges has a place BUT NOT AT THE PRICES now impossed. MCC taking the p1ss with increases and extension of hours. It will come and bite them back in the ar5e I am sure.

funboi123August 30th 2011.

I wasnt having a go at you Man Con, or doubting your readership, I was more having a go at the fact so few people bothered to sign it. And commenting on that may be reason why they have shelved the charges for now.
Im not very good at maths, and even worse after a Pride weekend, but isnt 6,300 as a percentage of 160,000 only 4% (and that rounding it up), so like I say, a poor show by Man Con's readers.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

A little bit of perspective wouldn't go amiss.
Is it fair blame a Council who has to save a ridiculous amount of money due to the greed demonstrated by our London centric finance industry who're propped up by both Labour and Tory central Govs?
Car parking charges don't 'kill off' businesses by deterring people traveling into the city. The businesses that are likely to fail, are those independents who can't compete with a city that is saturated with huge national/international corporations and the recession.
I must say, you have a bit of an ego to put the delay to your petition. Surely it's because of the recent riots and the political sensitivity surrounding this? It'll go ahead... a few weeks late maybe but the decision has been made.
Oh, and to make a decision based on 6000 views out of a population of over 450,000 isn't really valid.

1 Response: Reply To This...
ChloeAugust 18th 2011.

Are you really saying 6000 people don't matter? Three hundred scumbags made a significant difference Tuesday evening. They even managed to overturn the parking charges, allegedly.

AnonymousAugust 18th 2011.

Just read the thread and have made the decision most MC readers are bonkers! "Ruin Christmas, "MC for local elections"... what a load of inflammatory piffle.

ChloeAugust 18th 2011.

The reason being is the Council does not like to admit defeat, neither does its management like to consider itself public servants. They serve only to keep themselves in their overpaid jobs and remain underworked doing very little except thinking of lucrative income generating measures.

Nothing to do with what's best for the City, its Citizens or business.

the Whalley RangerAugust 18th 2011.

well done guys!

the Whalley RangerAugust 18th 2011.

Next stop oyster card for Manchester. Can't bear this £2.80-bullsh@t-2-mile-bus-fare to town...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
SylviaAugust 20th 2011.

And please, PLEASE a card that is accepted by the trains and all the bus operators. It is infinitely frustrating to do your bit for the environment by buying a Dayrider or whatever, only to find it refused when you have to change buses!!

Vicki GallagherAugust 22nd 2011.

..and can be used on trams too, unlike current System One cards.

AnonymousAugust 19th 2011.

6,300 signatures is pretty pathetic - I would have expected thousands more...

Charlie BAugust 19th 2011.

Just don't do it city council, or if you're going to do it, fully explain why and don't cloud it in excuses over traffic flows - or delay through a sop to democracy or to the rioters. Say we need more money, and we can only make it this way. Be brave.

AnonymousAugust 19th 2011.

Some people are so damn negative.

AnonymousAugust 19th 2011.

The damage has allready been done I run a business in the city centre and some of my customers think the parking restrictions have allready been brought in,has it made it busier no!!!

Simon SmithAugust 19th 2011.

'Our petition contained almost three times the votes cast in the city centre ward during May's local elections.'

What is this supposed to tell us?

Everyone in the world was eligible to vote in the poll, all 7 billion of us, whereas the city centre ward has significantly fewer registered voters.

AnonymousAugust 21st 2011.


AnonymousAugust 21st 2011.


AnonymousAugust 21st 2011.


AnonymousAugust 21st 2011.

why cant I choose my avatar?

John PlaceAugust 22nd 2011.

Reading the recent rants we are becoming a cynical lot are we not ? 6500 signatures easily represents a significant city centre electoral ward and the people who signed were high quality respondants with a genuine social and business desire to see these potty proposals overturned for the best of democratic reasons !! The Council is obviously in a financial bind - I have a m1lkshake shop in the Arndale with my son and we are very worried about recent footfall drop between April to date ( before the riots !! ) in a shopping centre with a recorded audited footfall of 32m visitors per annum. The recession , bad weather and riots are not helping trade - these parking scheme changes will just stick the boot in and many traders / shops / cafes / restuarants will simply "go to the wall" and city dwellers will move out to the suburbs !!" A great pity for the UKs second city eh ?

SUGGESTION - could Jonathan Schofield - under a FOI question - pin the council down today on what EXTRA income the new parking scheme needs to raise ? We then involve Cllr Pat Karney - M/C City Centre Council Supremo - with the readers and petitioners of Man Con to identify where across the city centre we see gross examples of waste or suggest new income streams for the Council ? If for example they need £1m savings the people help them identify the £1m via a "We Love M/C People Panel" - the people vote on which ideas / improvements to implement !! All could be done before the end of the Councils financial year by March 2012. 6500 high quality petitioners alone would produce a shitload of great ideas to cancel out the new car park charges scheme - if really successful could pay for more free parking - not less ?

Cannot be done ? The people of Oregon - USA - use this simple approach to decide on their total multi $million healthcare spend for the whole state population - a more important challenge than simple car parking charges !!

Come on Manchester - LETS AVE IT !!

John Boy

John PlaceAugust 22nd 2011.

Just reviewing the rants again - oops ONLY 6300 signature collected - sorry !!

As well as suggesting a new approach to the cuts issue I am struck by the notion that if one principled city centre Labour Councillor (are there any ?) resigned TODAY over the proposed parking changes and campaigned for revolutionary city centre travel / trade improvements picking up on the various excellent points raised in the various rants - backed by Man Con ward voters / readers - who do we think would win that very localised "one issue" by - election ? ( held before Christmas !! )

That really would be "democracy in action" and send "PR shudders" down the backs of complacent senior Labour council cabinet leaders and fat cat senior council managers!! ( PS - I am a lifelong Labour voter by the way !! )

AnonymousAugust 30th 2011.

Comment deleted: Now now, let's keep it civil.

Jean Verity-DoyleNovember 7th 2011.

well sence has prevailed then, good for people power. dont think we should have to pay parking anyway its day light robbery in some areas ie victoria 35.00 even if you want to stay 3-5 hrs. short stay usually full so cant suggest to go there either. Its frustrating and annoying when you have an appt in town centre no change and little parking spots available. well done Mcr residents.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Chris-afortunadoNovember 7th 2011.


anyone want to tell her?

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