Wirral Council councillors adjourn public meeting that met to decide on controversial car parking charges proposals

Wirral Council councillors adjourn public meeting that met to decide on controversial car parking charges proposals

Decision Review Committee (Wirral Council) 29th July 2021

Wirral Council councillors adjourn public meeting that met to decide on controversial car parking charges proposals

                                                                

By John Brace (Editor)
and
Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)

First publication date: Friday 30th July 2021, 1:18 PM (BST).

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Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee (Wirral Council) 14th June 2021

Decision Review Committee (Wirral Council) 29th July 2021
Decision Review Committee (Wirral Council) 29th July 2021

On the 14th June 2021 (which you can watch above) a majority of councillors on Wirral Council’s Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee in a vote that was 6 councillors in favour, 4 against with 1 abstention voted to adopt car parking charges options 1, 3 and 4. Option 1 was to introduce car parking charges for off street car parks that were currently free. Option 3 was to introduce car parking charges at coastal locations (New Brighton, West Kirby, Hoylake, Moreton etc). Option 4 was to have a standard range of charges for both the existing car parks, new locations proposed and applying to both on and off street car parking.

This decision was then “called in” by Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors. Whilst decisions are called in they are not implemented until a decision on the call in is reached.

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Decision Review Committee (Wirral Council) 29th July 2021

Yesterday evening (29th July 2021) saw Wirral Council’s Decision Review Committee meet to review the decision (you can watch video of this meeting above).

The meeting lasted (if two short adjournments are included) for over 5 hours.

However in a nutshell, retail businesses were against the proposals because there was the perception that their businesses would be impacted by loss of trade. Residents in the areas impacted were concerned that displaced parking by people looking to park for free in surrounding roads would impact their ability to park near their homes. Petitions against the proposals were mentioned.

Towards the end of the public meeting, Shaer Halewood who is Wirral Council’s Director of Resources and section 151 officer referred to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s capitalisation directive. Further details on the £9.0 million for 2020-21 that this applies to and the conditions attached to it are outlined in this letter dated 3rd March 2021.

That letter also details that one of the conditions is an external assurance review of Wirral Council’s financial position and Wirral Council’s ability to be financially sustainable in the medium term.

Shaer Halewood gave her opinion that, “The capitalisation directive cannot be used to offset any reduction or any delay in implementing the new car parking charges” followed shortly after by, “For this year, Committee the main financial priority through the Council, through the committees are two fold. Firstly to ensure a balanced budget can be presented for this year without having to call upon the capitalisation directive as supported by the external assurance review and secondly to ensure that the Council can demonstrate long term financial sustainability. In the event car parking charges are not implemented this year, the Policy and Resources Committee would need to recommend what other areas of the Council will need to achieve the £1 million target” and “So as the proposal was unanimously agreed at Council for this year’s budget, it should actually be implemented as agreed.”

The Decision Review Committee did not reach a point where councillors voted on a recommendation about the car parking charges proposals. As the public meeting had gone on past 11 pm and the ventilation at the Floral Pavilion had stopped at 11 pm, the meeting was adjourned to another evening.

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

5 thoughts on “Wirral Council councillors adjourn public meeting that met to decide on controversial car parking charges proposals”

  1. The council can basically get away with introducing charges at any of their off-street car parks and raising charges on existing ones. Their real hurdle (should be) introducing new controlled ON-STREET parking. That requires a ‘statement of reason’ in line with the Road Traffic and Regulation Act, 1984. They would have to show evidence that for safety reasons or tackling an existing congestion problem or preventing a congestion problem, there was a genuine need to introduce on-street controlled parking.

    The road that runs adjacent to West Kirby promenade is likely a case for congestion as it does build up with moving traffic looking for parking spaces on nice days. However, the stretch of Promenade between Hoylake and Meols is less of a candidate for congestion. The council tried this on a couple of years ago by saying they needed to prevent accidents and maintain visibility at the slipway at Meols Parade, but I challenged this by asking for traffic volume reports and accident statistics for that particular stretch of road where the slipway was. They had no information to offer, likely because there aren’t any statistics for accidents at that location.

    I’m not sure what the situation is along the stretch of road to New Brighton, but before you get to the actually town the road is very wide with good visibility and doesn’t suffer any real congestion.

    This on-street parking idea was another initiative under the Phil Davies leadership but to be fair, all councils try and push parking legislation to the absolute limits. It’s just a pity the current legislation provides the loophole to use off-street parking as an unlimited cash-cow.

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Part of the long meeting did discuss the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

      The parking on West Kirby promenade does suffer from congestion, especially on days when the weather is good.

      Surely there would be parking restrictions around any slipway at Hoylake and Meols?

      The Department for Transport publish datasets on road accidents that result in personal injury going back to 1979 so it is possible for Wirral Council to look such information even if Wirral Council might not hold it themselves.

      1. The promenade at West Kirby during the summer season is undoubtedly congested and this spills onto Banks Road.

        The slipway at Dovepoint in Meols does have restrictions for use by the coastguard service. The slipway the council quoted in their statement of reasons the last time they issued a TRO for on-street parking is situated next to Meols Parade Gardens. It is very accessible and nobody parks on its roadway. Generally, that part of the West Wirral promenade is not really an attraction like West Kirby and congestion has never been an issue.

        I had a look at the datasets and extracted the following for West Wirral:

        Accident year Parliamentary constituency Ons code All accidents
        2000 Wirral West E14001044 251
        2001 Wirral West E14001044 180
        2002 Wirral West E14001044 209
        2003 Wirral West E14001044 191
        2004 Wirral West E14001044 174
        2005 Wirral West E14001044 166
        2006 Wirral West E14001044 156
        2007 Wirral West E14001044 147
        2008 Wirral West E14001044 136
        2009 Wirral West E14001044 120
        2010 Wirral West E14001044 109
        2011 Wirral West E14001044 104
        2012 Wirral West E14001044 98
        2013 Wirral West E14001044 97
        2014 Wirral West E14001044 82
        2015 Wirral West E14001044 92
        2016 Wirral West E14001044 87
        2017 Wirral West E14001044 66
        2018 Wirral West E14001044 68
        2019 Wirral West E14001044 75

        (Hopefully the above formats!)

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