Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Motorists Victory in Stoke

The Stoke Sentinel

11 August 2006

Car parking across Stoke-on-Trent is set for a major revamp to help boost the retail economy.

A review ordered by elected mayor Mark Meredith is set to spearhead a revolution in the way the city council runs its car parks.The far reaching changes could see free evening parking introduced all-year round from 2007. But Mr Meredith says two multi-storey car parks - in John Street and Meigh Street - will be converted to pay-at-exit in a trial which could see the approach adopted at other city centre car parks.
Other measures include:
  • A proportional charging system that makes motorists pay for the time they actually spend in the car parks.
  • A "sensible grace period" for people whose tickets have run out.
  • And, for the first time, the chance for people whose valid tickets have not been displayed properly to have their fines cancelled.

Under proposals being announced by the city council there will also be the opportunity to pay for parking by text message, credit or debit card and a revamp of daytime and evening charging periods. And city council parking attendants will be reorganised and tasked with tackling illegal parking causing congestion in city streets.

Mr Meredith said the changes were aimed at helping stimulate more visits to the city centre and a bigger spend in shops and night-time venues. He said with that aim in mind there would be free parking every night from the Christmas Lights switch on - on November 16 - to the end of December.

The city council is also exploring the potential to extend free evening parking to all-year round, according to councillor Mike Barnes, deputy leader of the city's Labour group.

He said: "The parking policy should not be about making money. In the past it has been a cash cow, but that has to change."The city council has come in for severe criticism of the way it operates its car parks in recent months, particularly in the way it has fined people for not displaying tickets properly.

In April, The Sentinel revealed thousands of fines were being overturned because of a legal technicality.Bryan Carnes, chief executive of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomed the move away from the "draconian parking regime".He said: "We are absolutely delighted that the city council is taking a new approach towards the motorist. This sends out the message to visitors that they are welcome."

Pam Bryan, of Weston Coyney, who runs the Justice For Parkers campaign, added: "At the moment people are being put off in their droves because of the stupidity of the parking system. This sounds a sensible move."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stoke council should be congratulated on this revolutionary new idea. However I cant see it catching on in other areas

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