Major car park in Liverpool city centre could have charges raised to meet council cash shortfall

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Liverpool Council’s cabinet is also expected to sign off a full consultation into scrapping free evening parking in the city.

Further changes to parking charges could be introduced in Liverpool city centre amid already controversial plans to extend evening fees.

Later this week, Liverpool Council’s cabinet is expected to sign off a full statutory consultation into 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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Under new proposals, the city’s controlled parking zone (CPZ) would allow charges to be enforced from 7am to 11pm and increase by 10p per half hour, in a move the council said would raise £1.6m. However, results of a public engagement exercise held in December have revealed how almost 90% of respondents were against any changes to the existing system.

It is thought this move could generate £1.6m for the council in revenue. However, as the changes to the CPZ would only come in from September, subject to public approval, further amendments to the city’s parking provision have been touted.

In a fresh report, Ken Prior, the council’s new head of parking, said a shortfall of £600,000 was expected to the target of £1.6m. Therefore local authority officers were considering a number of possible options to mitigate it, including extending the opening hours and reviewing the charging structure at Mount Pleasant car park.

Mr Prior’s report said charges and availability of contract parking permits at Mount Pleasant were also under review, as well as increasing the hours of coverage of enforcement of the existing bus gate. Addressing the council’s neighbourhoods committee, Mr Prior told councillors it was “a bit odd” the Mount Pleasant site currently closed at 8pm.

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Concerns were raised about the potential changes to the controlled parking zone by committee members. Cllr Steve Radford said he feared a move to charge until 11pm could represent the council “killing off the goose that lays the golden egg” and scoring a “self inflicted own goal.”

Mark Bourgeois, interim city director, said currently the city is “a bit of a wild west out there with unregulated parking” and can be abused when there are no regulations or enforcement. Mr Prior told the committee 18 people had applied to fill the role of parking enforcement officers and he was seeking to employ more people on varied and part-time hours to further expand the council’s operations.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Richard Clein said the late night charge would “no doubt put people off coming into the city centre” at a time when “hospitality is really struggling” and said the council “shouldn’t be doing something that means they struggle even more.” However, Cllr Clein said he could potentially back the plans if the funds were invested in further enforcement.

He advocated for the creation of an “army of wardens” outside of the city centre to clamp down on problem parking in the “hotspots we know exist.” Cllr Clein said it is “out of control” and “people park where they like in this city, it’s ridiculous.”

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