Wirral Council has moved forward with plans which will shape how and where people can park in the future.
The local authority has been developing its parking strategy over the last year following an initial consultation and brought forward a number of ideas in June. The parking strategy will shape how car parks are used, street parking, introduce new schemes such as e-bike and e-scooter hire, and how the council will look to tackle pavement parking.
2,171 responses were received by the council in a public feedback exercise over the summer with many comments highlighting controversial proposals to close two car parks in Heswall. These proposals were removed from the strategy being voted on by councillors.
According to the report commissioned by Royal HaskoningDHV, “the parking strategy should provide a clear framework to manage parking in Wirral within a wider context of sustainable economic growth and urban regeneration.”
The proposals in the plan could generate £15.4m a year though only £1.9m will be generated through proposals expected to be brought in in the near future.
The plan also identifies 20 new cycle parking sites which could be linked with regeneration and building on an EV charging project which saw 53 new charging points installed in Wallasey, Woodchurch, and Hoylake.
Key policies in the parking strategy include “review the usage of car parks, undertake further analysis and if appropriate consult on rationalising and adapting under-used car parks across the borough.” The council will also seek public feedback on parking charges with any money made going into “more sustainable travel options and alternatives to using private cars.”
The council will also review and ask for thoughts on variable pricing systems which means people could pay more to park at peak times and less when things are quieter. However, the council will continue to apply standard charges across the borough rising with annual inflation.
Smart mobility will also be set up under the plans which will provide shared bikes, electric bikes, and electric scooters. The council will also look to provide more parking facilities for motorcycles, car clubs, as well as bikes.
The strategy also proposes a parking levy for workplace parking spaces but “this should not be developed at this present time but possible implementation to be considered at a future date.”
It also proposes more enforcement of existing parking regulations and more restrictions on parking through Traffic Regulation Orders or Public Space Protection Orders including all of Wirral’s coastline.
The council will also look to bring in new facilities for coaches and new recreational vehicles to help boost tourism in areas like New Brighton. It said it is currently exploring options on the New Brighton and Birkenhead waterfronts and had been considering four locations in the past.
At the same meeting, councillors voted to introduce a permanent traffic regulation order for overnight motorcaravans on the Dips in Wallasey after a temporary one was brought in in July 2022. This means motorhomes have to pay £20 to stay overnight in the area and the policy has also been extended to North Parade and Meols Parade in Hoylake.
The move went ahead despite more opposition than support with concerns the restrictions drive tourism and business away from New Brighton. Those in favour claim human waste has been disposed of down the drain, anti-social behaviour, and rubbish being left.
It cost the council £17,000 to introduce the scheme with a £40,000 income target. Only £1,600 has been created so far but a review of the effectiveness of these restrictions will come to committee in the future.
Image: Yelena Odintsova