Free parking in Liverpool to end and charges set to rise

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The changes could be implemented within six months.

Free parking in Liverpool city centre after 6pm could end within six months should the city council go ahead with controversial plans.

In November, Liverpool Council announced it was looking into the viability of scrapping free evening parking as part of a revamp of on-street provision across the city centre. Currently, drivers can leave their cars on the road without charge from 6pm.

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Next week, the local authority’s cabinet is expected to sign off on plans to launch a formal consultation on extending charging hours from 7am to 11pm and raising fees by 10p per half hour. Documents released ahead of that meeting have outlined, subject to public feedback, how the scheme may be altered.

The council is moving to full consultation on the proposals despite almost 90% of respondents to an informal exercise before Christmas indicating they were against scrapping the current hours of operation. Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said to not address parking challenges now would be “foolhardy” and was a “process that should have been addressed some time ago.”

According to cabinet papers, a decision will be made when it meets on March 24. The call-in period on the decision will end on March 31 with the full consultation to launch in mid April.

The public engagement would end four weeks later, with analysis and recommendations to be made during June. A highways and public spaces representations committee could be convened to scrutinise the decision by members of the new council in July which would be followed by a report to cabinet.

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Should that then be adopted, any physical works would commence into August, with the proposals fully operative by September. Under the new plans, the council hopes to raise around £1.6m which Mayor Anderson said would be reinvested in city centre operations.

Currently, 30 minutes parking costs £1.20, this would go up to £1.30. Up to an hour would increase to £2.50 from £2.40. Around 1,500 people responded to the initial non-statutory exercise before Christmas and as a result, it has been recommended plans for a two-hour maximum stay be shelved.

Additional changes to be put forward as part of the consultation include footway parking enforcement where yellow lines are in force and blue badge users being able to park for up to three hours on yellow lines. It is thought that until parking behaviour improves, extended hours of charging could generate enforcement revenues “broadly estimated at £240,000” at which point the council forecasts revenue will reduce proportionately.

In its cabinet report, the council conceded that support for the proposals was not expected given the “controversial nature” of the changes, adding that view had been reinforced by strong representations from stakeholders across the city.

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