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City faces bigger parking costs and penalties

Larry Neild reveals motorists are in the firing line to pay for Government cuts

Published on March 2nd 2011.

City faces bigger parking costs and penalties

CAR owners in Liverpool face having to dig deeper into their pockets as city councillors look at ways of generating extra income for the city treasury.

The prospect of increase parking charges and a more robust policy of traffic enforcement are among options already on the radar screen at the town hall.

This is set against the backdrop of Liverpool losing a staggering £91m in Government money.

This Wednesday night’s crucial budget meeting of Liverpool City Council will pave the way for the prospect of extra charges and penalties to help bridge that shortfall.The move comes just days after a Which? report described Liverpool as the fifth most expensive big city for car parking charges.

In the budget report to the city’s 90 councillors senior officers say a number of income generating options are being considered. They admit some options may have an adverse impact on communities.

The options being considered include:

Increasing fees and charges for specified services

Changing charging policies

Improving enforcement of bus lane and parking rules

The current £2-an-hour charge for on-street parking pays is not the highest among provincial cities, with some already charging £2.20 an hour.

It was introduced on the back of a previous budget decision ‘to review parking charges’.

If the decision is again taken by council executives it could mean increases and enforcement policies being introduced without first going before councillors.

The big fear among the city’s leisure and night time trade is whether the 6pm cut-off point for charges will be extended, forcing visitors arriving after 6pm to pay.

Two years ago when night time parking charge proposals were revealed by Liverpool Confidential (click here) there was an outcry from theatre land and restaurant owners – and the plan was quickly dropped.

Liverpool’s night time economy is a major employer and income generator in Liverpool - and seen by many as the city’s saviour.

Would making people pay to park at night close to the Phil or the Everyman put people off coming into town for evening concerts or shows?

Another money-raiser on the shopping list is greater enforcement of parking and bus-lane infringements.

The camera-controlled bus lanes in the city centre have already proved to be money spinners, but should the council be factoring in wrong-doing in its income ledger book?

Parking enforcement in the city centre is already quite stringent with an army of wardens waiting to pounce on cars parked on yellow lines or on time-expired parking bays.

Out there though in the suburbs there is a rich minefield waiting to be harnessed. Parking on yellow lines, or in residents’ parking areas is rife with people seemingly willing to take a risk of not being booked.

Motorists already stump up millions of pounds of income for the town hall in parking fees and penalties.

As the council struggles to make ends meet to keep vital services going, it looks like drivers will have to dig a little deeper, and maybe that is a price to be paid for the current tough climate.

Users of leisure and sports facilities as well as swimmingly pools also face having to pay more to help the city balance its books.

The consolation is a zero increase in this year's council tax.

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 1st 2011.

About time drivers were told to dig deep. I use buses and we pay ever increasing fares for a poor service. Going to and from town costs £3.60 and you have to share a bus (often standing all the way) with coughing and spluttering fellow passengers. I think they should use the extra parking money to improve buses.

RoadRageMarch 1st 2011.

Council bosses and councillors have free or cheap parking. Nuff said.

The Hapless CommuterMarch 1st 2011.

Parking charges will have to go up a long way before over-priced, smelly, flea-infested buses become an attractive alternative.

For many journeys private hire TAXIS are actually cheaper than these awful privatised buses.

TourmanMarch 1st 2011.

Cut the number of councilors, stop councilors expenses, deuce the pay of those at the top and if they don't like it, they can always leave, that would be a saving, reduce the number of pointless council jobs, such as cycling officers, that would be a start. The council wastes too much money so it is easy to make savings. The motorist is not a cash cow. Buses companies are private companies so why should they get special treatment. Scrap the bus lanes and get rid of half the traffic lights, that would ease congestion. Motorists of Merseyside unite do not pay the fines for parking, do not pay the fines for using bus lanes, bring the whole system down, we want the same treatment as cyclists, private buses and taxis. Motorist pay for the roads, so we want to use them.

EditorialMarch 1st 2011.

We received the following response from Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport:

"It should be noted that parking charges in Liverpool are used for road and lighting improvements. It should also be noted that the amount given by the government for road repairs has been cut dramatically and we are going to struggle to find resources to repair roads in the coming year. Thirdly you will be aware that problems we face around places like Sefton Park are caused by unadopted roads for which we get no funding at all. Essentially we face the choice of a) not bothering with repairs b) diverting resources from other areas of council services which have also been slashed by government funding cuts and c) bringing additional resources from other sources. Rock and a hard place are words which come to mind.

Neighbourhood WatchMarch 1st 2011.

Am the only one concerned at how public forums such as this are being used by dim-witted dupes - willing or otherwise - to blow the trumpet of the Conservative Party agenda, i.e., cutting the numbers of councillors and Members of Parliament (in order to gerrymander future elections) sacking Council officers who provide services and cutting Councillors' expenses?

Such silly, small-minded measures might save a couple of quid here and there, but making the likes of Vodafone and Barclays pay their taxes and stopping Cameron using taxpayers' money to underwrite arms sales to thuggish tyrants in the Middle East would bring in enormously greater amounts of money that might realistically make inroads against the deficit.

ObserverMarch 2nd 2011.

So hidden among the statement from Councillor Kennedy can we assume he was saying, you are right - fees are going up. Why doesn't he just have the guts to say something like: we need more, you need to park - Snap. Job Done. I managed by a stroke of luck and a couple of near miracles to read the budget stuff and it states enforcement against motorists is being looked at as an income generator. There was no mention of the money being needed to fill in potholes. So if fees go up, if motorists are hounded and bled dry by council money collectors, sorry parking wardens, will Malcolm Kennedy resign if there is a single pot hole in Sefton Park or anywhere else in a year's time. Mr Kennedy just have the decency to admit motorists are the council's unwitting piggy bank.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2011.

And here's me thinking Peter Millea wasn't keen on car drivers. The good news is there will soon be plenty of parking spaces as motorists will be driven out of the city centre. Well done Joe, Malcolm and your enforcers

Carl N. NixonMarch 2nd 2011.

Editorial person. I agree with obne of the people above. Can you please go back and ask the following questions to the politician chap. 1, are you going to increase parking charges answer yes or no. 2 are you going to increase enforcement of motoring infringements answer yes or no. 3 will every single penny raised from parking charges and penalty notices be used on roads and traffic improvements answer yes or no. I would guess the answers will be Yes, Yes and No

Vauxhall VictorMarch 2nd 2011.

Since when have parking charges and Vehicle Excise Duty had anything to do with road maintenance?

Parking charges are a payment for the privilege to park somewhere where free parking would cause congestion.

Vehicle Excise Duty is a tax on the privilege of owning a private car and using it in the public roads.

Since when have bad drivers been privileged to commit offences and not expect to be fined or punished?

I am an adult driver and I appreciate that the world and the taxpayer owes me nothing.

It is such a pity that so many selfish morons pottering down the middle of the road are too thick to see it like that.

StandeeMarch 2nd 2011.

I'me one of life's standees. There's a small army of us in Liverpool with the misfortune of waiting for buses at the top end of town just after 6 o clock at night. Like modern day Cinderellas we dread the chime of 6 cos it means most of the buses turn into pumpkins and the drivers into mice. Although the timetables indicate buses on the main routes, ie the 82, should be every few minutes, we Standees can be there for a good half hour, longer on occasions. And by the time the John West special (people crammed in like sardines) reached the bombed out church it sails past, not even a wave. If it does happen to stop it will be standing room only. As the bus info board says the number of Standees is also limited.
So when motorists moan and groan about having to pay a little more, have pity on us Standees.

The Man on the Garston OmnibusMarch 2nd 2011.

Where do buses come from? Or rather where do they start?

They used to come from a terminus at the Pier Head and travel to every part of Liverpool from there, passing all the main shopping and employment areas taking people where they wanted to go.

Not any more.

Don't understand them. Can't afford them.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2011.

Sorry to be pedantic, but if he doesn't use buses any more shouldn't a previous correspondence be more properly called Man Not on the Garston Omnibus.

Ty TarseMarch 2nd 2011.

Liverpool One's car park, like other private car parks, charges more than double the Council rate and they have no trouble filling their car parks. How can these people whinge about being robbed by the Council and then entertain such profligacy?

I park up and come on the train.

The Man Formerly on he Garston OmnibusMarch 2nd 2011.

You are quite correct, Anonymous. I only use the name as an allegory for everyman. And I no longer live on the 86 bus route.

Also I was fed up of having to get off at Lewis's then walk miles to where I needed to go because the bus no longer went there.

BusCrazyMarch 2nd 2011.

So you live in South Liverpool and need to get to the Business part of the city. Tough luck, you'll be chucked off at Liverpool One bus station and walk the rest, you lady goodfornothing (ok I know some morning buses go down Dale Street but people have to come home stupid). So you live in North Liverpool and you want to go to John Lewis. You'll be chucked off at Queen Square and have to trek the rest of the way. Who invented this city's crazy bus map, obviously somebody with a free parking space and no dount a company car.

The man formerly on the Garston OmnibusMarch 3rd 2011.

It's not really the business part of the city any more though is it, Buscrazy?

Sadly now it's more the overpriced-cramped-speculative-flats-over-derelict-former-shops part of the city. Dale Street looks like some crumbling part of Detroit these days.

Planners should be shot.

Stan ButlerMarch 3rd 2011.

"Liverpool One bus station"? You mean that badly-planned, windswept, expensive white elephant where buses can't actually stop and wait for their passengers because if they did it would gridlock the Dock Road?

Those responsible for this cock-up should be tracked down and shot.

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