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The Laz Word...on free early evening parking

The council is this week proposing to extend parking charges in in the city centre up until 8pm. Is this what the economy really needs, asks Larry Neild

Published on February 13th 2009.


The Laz Word...on free early evening parking

WHEN Liverpool City Council decided, some years ago, to take over parking controls here, I suggested the move would become the Town Hall’s very own piggy bank.

I was wrong, they screamed, how dare I even think such a thing, came the response from some of our elected spokespeople. This was nothing to do with raking in dosh, but a way of getting to grips with parking problems in and around the city centre.

If you say so, councillor.

Soon after the council parking attendants took to the streets “to help ease traffic problems” I saw a uniformed warden slapping a ticket on a car in a deserted Old Hall Street, confirming my very earliest suspicions.

Then I heard a whisper they wanted to extend parking control hours into the evening. I had one of my little words with various people and the scheme was dropped. The theatre owners and the RLPO also had a bigger word, so maybe their influence was higher than mine.

One of the leading councillors called me at the time and said the fuss kicked up was going to cost the council a lot in potential lost income.

Now this week, cash strapped Liverpool, named as the most socially deprived city in Britain, has returned with new plans to make motorists pay to park until around 8pm. The reality is that the proposals are part of the council’s income package. So much for the reassurances of a few years ago.

One of the justifications for extending the control hours is the late night opening in Liverpool One. The car parks there must be the best in the country, but can be costly. I parked there recently for two hours and 20 minutes and I had to pay £6.

According to the new Centre for Cities report, Liverpool is one of the worst equipped places in the UK to deal with the impact of a recession, so daytime and evening economies need help to attract more people to come into the city centre, not to out-of-town retail parks.

In 2007, in Manchester, where on-street parking is free not only after 6pm but all day Sunday, there was a huge outcry when the council proposed ending the perk. It never happened.

So not only should Liverpool reject extending control hours, to be decided at the Town Hall on Wednesday, but there should be a relaxing of parking restrictions at weekends, perhaps even free, or a token £1, on Sundays.

I’ll go along with the concept of needing controls during normal Monday to Friday working hours. I’d even support even higher charges for people who park in designated bus stop areas or who ignore those peak-time no-unloading controls in places such as Dale Street. I’d even impose massive fines on people parking close to school gates.

But parking controls need to be decided on common sense rather be seen as a municipal cash-cow. The losers will be struggling city centre retailers, the winners will be out of town rivals where parking is free and convenient. The city’s chamber of commerce has already expressed its alarm at the scheme.Night life will also suffer if people have to feed parking meters to avoid receiving a ticket. Why go to the new Odeon when free parking is available at Edge Lane, Croxteth or Switch Island, not to mention the Trafford Centre and all that goes with it.

Just to add insult to injury, most of the people taking these money-raising decisions enjoy free or subsidised city centre parking, meaning extra controls certainly won’t affect them.

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

captain peacockJanuary 26th 2009.

The council's proposed charge is shortsighted and greedy. I refuse to pay inflated parking charges and choose to spend my money at Speke Retail Park and the Trafford Centre rather than Liverpool 1. For the same reason, it looks like I'll soon be enjoying theatre and cinema out of town as well.

SILVER TIARAJanuary 26th 2009.

michael! i think theres a sale on! lol! and theres some great £1 shops in Ellesmere port!

that'smrbollockstoyouJanuary 26th 2009.

Why should the mandarins worry about the effect on our wallets and driving yet more people to use the out of town shopping marts with free parking? They all have their own free parking spaces. I suggest we should find out where they are and place burnt out cars from Netherley in every single one of them.

Wavy GravyJanuary 26th 2009.

Frank McKenna has studied Larrry's column here and rewritten it! Imitation and flattery, and all that Laz....

ranter in chiefJanuary 26th 2009.

What the Council is doing is barmy,it shows that the Anti car lobby is well awake and doing all it can to reduce the number of cars coming into the City centre. they are thinking that lets create chaos and everyone will use buses

SILVER TIARAJanuary 26th 2009.

this is such a silly situation that Liverpool City Council are getting themselves into! i live in Chester where parking charges are high! but Chester council decided to have FREE parking in certain carparks after 3pm and its made such a difference to retailers,i shopped in Ellesmere port where parking is only 50p! but i willl drive into Chester now as i know i dont have to pay £2.50 plus to park for a few hours shopping! all i can say is that it looks to me like they are trying to rake the money lost on the City of Culture! i mean there was a huge arachnid to pay for!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah GJanuary 26th 2009.

I will stay at home with a nice takeaway and listen to Classic FM. £15 for a ticket at the Phil is enough without having to stump up for parking since the city council made it residents only around there. The public transport to that part of town is woeful. This could be the end of the big money in Hope Street. Give it back over to the students

Amanda ShawJanuary 26th 2009.

Firstly - well done Frank McKenna for raising this issue and pursuing the whole subject of these utterly ridiculous proposals. Who on earth do Liverpool City Council think they are. Along with discussing parking issues, I heard Warren Bradley on the radio the other day saying that he and his staff are entitled to their golden pensions and free car parking spaces. Perhaps he should be reminded that it is the private sector who pay his wages and have had the rug pulled as far as pensions go. He clearly resides in cloud cuckoo land. Amanda Shaw - WiFi Solutions UK Ltd

Foy453January 26th 2009.

Apologies for the poor grammar and spelling. Just fuming after reading the article and in a rush. All the 'green' people out there Myself and my partner live in Huyton and so more difficult to quickly bike, or walk into work. (and have you tried getting the bus from Huyton to town....forget the train that's another issue)!!!

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

Cycling is fine when your bike doesn't get nicked, or when you live within cycling distance.

WappingJanuary 26th 2009.

Cycling's fine if you're under 50, got plenty of time, in fine weather and you don't need to carry anything and if where you're going has a place to change your clothes. That's without the potholes and the 4x4s. Buses are fine too, when they run on time and you can fit in with their timetable, that's if they run anywhere near the places you going to or from and it's not school time.

Leon KayJanuary 26th 2009.

As we are the most deprived city or is that depraved ?? in Europe, remmber they said that before we had 1.6billion out of the EU and then another 5 billion for the capital of Vultures it is quite disgusting for the city fathers to charge so much for eveything here .I mean who do they think they are ,this is not London or New York it is a minor player in the northwest.Looks like I will be going to Manchester to shop or Cheshire Oaks were one can park for free.Liverpool 1 is a joke with it's Greggs Deichmann brothers ,and Peacocks not at all appealing to the savvy shopper .

silver tiaraJanuary 26th 2009.

WELL THEY HAVE TO GET FUNDING FOR THAT BLOODY SPIDER SOMEHOW!!!!!!!!!

TonyJanuary 26th 2009.

I am struck by how many times Larry says things like: "I would...I’ll go along.... I’d even support. ....I’d even impose," etc, etcThe truth is that he is totally impotent at the moment (missus).Of course he could do something about all of these things if he had the bottle to join a political party and stand for election, rather than throw rocks from the sidelines. Any fool can do that. And there are quite a lot of them in this city.Put up or shut up Larry?

WappingJanuary 26th 2009.

I do prefer the idea of increasing the penalties for bad parking. That would improve the traffic flow and, if properly managed, bring in a lot of revenue. Unfortunately altering the charging hours doesn't require any extra manpower but having hit squads like the Allerton Road Afternoon Team in other parts of the suburbs would mean the Council paying their agents more. The fact that the increase in revenue should easily cover the extra cost simply gets in the way of their very strange dogma.

shaking headJanuary 26th 2009.

Liverpool City Council clearly don't give a **** about the economy of this city, unless it's to do with trying to claw back some cash after the Audit Commission condemned Liverpool as the worst council in the country last year with a £62 million deficit. I wonder what the Liverpool One people think about this, or are they just as blinkered and imagine everyone has got the dosh to spare a tenner for an afternoon in Q Park, or might they go for a nice trip to Cheshire Oaks for nothing instead. I know what I'd do.

Denise LysaghtJanuary 26th 2009.

This is outrageous. Having already "straddled" the time limit I was steered to a speck by a very helpful warden who checked my valid space & then afterwards left me a ticket as my front tyres were over the white lines. I disputed this & lost & had to pay the fine to an already bloated treasury of "lets hit the motorist in the tank & spurious parking offences else to support our profligate spending & personal expenses." ex labour supporter who valued personal freedom

Liverpool WagJanuary 26th 2009.

The only winner in this is the Trafford Centre.

DigJanuary 26th 2009.

I was talking about residents of Liverpool. You're right though. It is a no brainer if you're from The Wirral or Warrington. I thought that would go without saying.

Ordinary MotoristJanuary 26th 2009.

Your Laz is on the ball as usual for highlighting this. I have just seen this posting on the DLIB website... CAR PARKING PLANS MADNESS SAY BUSINESS LEADERS Proposal to extend car parking charges to 8pm in Liverpool City Centre are ‘absolute madness’ according to private sector lobby group Downtown Liverpool in Business (DLIB). Chairman Frank McKenna blasted:“I cannot believe that the City Council is seriously considering this proposal in the middle of an economic downturn that has put the retail sector in real jeopardy.“On the back of the excellent Liverpool One initiative, Liverpool has a real chance of bucking the trend, attracting more shoppers than ever before. But, yet another stealth tax on the motorist will see Cheshire Oakes and the Trafford Centre benefit once again.“Retailers who pay additional taxes through the Business Improvement District (BID) should be up in arms over this plan. So much for the ‘no pain, no gain mantra through the ‘big dig’. City centre shops, bars and restaurants will be the hardest hit if this proposition is carried.”Mr. McKenna said that lessons needed to be learnt from Manchester.“At the other end of the M62, parking is free after 6pm during the week – and free all day on Sunday. The council is barmy to be considering increasing car parking charges at this time.”

EducatedJanuary 26th 2009.

Let's look at the bigger picture isn't it about time the council recruited intelligent people like the highly qualified people not currently working. Then and only then will the decisions use whole brain thinking and not singular thought

Stanley StreetJanuary 26th 2009.

What on earth was wrong with the word 's****y'? Is this site now filtered byy the City Council I.T. Department?

SmiggerJanuary 26th 2009.

I've got an even better idea. Burn the mandarins cars while they're sat in their free spaces? We'll have to divert Bradley before we start tho. He'll be there in a jiffy in his big red truck spoiling our fun!

patJanuary 26th 2009.

I am so annoyed at this new proposed extension of parking charges. The people of Liverpool and beyond have supported Liverpool's Capital of Culture year (mainly) wholeheartedly and have relished in visiting our City, hopefully to return often but what incentive does it give anyone to come here when the parking restrictions are so relaxed in other city centres. Yes, it's great to be able to cycle everywhere and I wish it were possible but it's not an option for most people. I appeal to those who make the decisions (fully agreeing with Larry Neild's comment that they won't have to worry about the consequences) please reconsider. We need to invite and tempt audiences to our great theatres in the evenings - just one aspect of the whole argument but one that I particulary feel strongly about.

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

absolutlely scandalous, capital of culture just took a nose dive, we need money coming into our city, not visitors going to other cities spending their leisure time and money!!!!!

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

Because people see shopping as a day out and you can combine it with eating out in a chain restaurant like all those in Liverpool One followed by a trip to the cinema. And if you already live on the Wirral, it's a no brainer. If you live in Huyton or Warrington it's a no brainer. You won't come into Liverpool and pay when you can breeze up the motorway in 15 minutes.

Good socialistJanuary 26th 2009.

Great! At last all those rich folk in cars get to pay - after all they can afford it. What? Ordinary folk have cars too? No worries, we'll soon price them off the streets.

that'smrbollockstoyouJanuary 26th 2009.

I bow to your wisdom, Smigsey lad. Burnt cars from Crockie may be a much more sensible alternative.

teJanuary 26th 2009.

Liverpool has a lot more to attract people into the city but two hours maximum on a meter doesn't give you time to do much andthe £1 per half hour costs are unfair.Parking at the Trafford Centre is free and I can park all day in Manchester for £1.70.Are the council trying to fuel the reccession and make a mockery of Liverpool One's appeal?

GaryGreenJanuary 26th 2009.

Simple remedy is to leave the car at home if you have one, the car I mean, and cycle or walk. It'll do you good and help us shed that million pounds of fat they keep talking about. Don't be so lazy Laz, give the car a rest.

London RoadJanuary 26th 2009.

I am a resident of Liverpool and given a choice of a day's shopping followed, maybe, by a trip to the flicks or a meal out at teatime, I would choose to park up at Cheshire Oaks or even the pleasant bustle of Manchester City Centre on a Sunday and not have to worry about meters. After all, an Odeon is an Odeon is a Cafe Rouge, innit?

HOTPOTJanuary 26th 2009.

Oh com on! Give a bike to a scouser! How long before they are filling up the second hand shops and pawn shops for drug money?

RowdyJanuary 26th 2009.

Liverpool City Council have not gone far enough, I would like to see charges of £8 per hour and there is a real possibility that they will be imposed from March 2009. I will be supporting them. Cycling is GOOD 4 U.

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

I am astounded about the parking rates that liverpool city council can get away with. I work in Manchester and pay £1.50 PER DAY, this would be unheard of in Liverpool and while in Newcastle over the weekend I was charged a nominal £1.00 to park at St James car park again all day on Sunday. Where on earth do Liverpool city council dream up the fees of £1.00 per half hour? It seems to me that we are all here to line the councils pocket after the huge cock-up with the expense of 08, they feck up, we pay for it, for goodness sake when can we vote the idiots out?!!!

Alex PlodeJanuary 26th 2009.

Simple remedy. Stick some chewy on a couple of 20p pieces and stick them in the machines which will knacker them

DigJanuary 26th 2009.

I'm not condoning the parking charges here but why drive to Ellesmere Port, Chester or Manchester to do your shopping? You'll end up spending more on fuel than you would if you spent a few quid to park for a few hours here.

Jon GardJanuary 26th 2009.

I live by The Quarter, but use different cars from work. Hence, I don't have a designated licence plate for a residents parking permit.We get 50 passes for visitors every six months, the rest of the time I get to pay for the privilege of parking outside my own house.I love the Council.

RoadRunnerJanuary 26th 2009.

For those of you who like doing sums and adding up. Work out how much extra you will pay in higher parking charges, add to the 4.5% rise in council tax and the total will give you the real cost in council btax increase this year. This is a not-so-clever way of making people cough up over the government limit of 5%. It's a stealth tax and the losers will be the shops and city centre nightlife. Remember this also: how long before they add on an extra hour or two to 9pm or 10pm. In a few years we will pay to park 24/7. All thanks to a FibDem sleight of hand.

GailhacJanuary 26th 2009.

There seems to be no moral conscience these days. Folks find it hard to make ends meet. Many use cars as they have no alternative for safety and time. I can see Liverpool becoming a ghost town if the council continue to levy such charges on those visiting the city.do they have any thought for the citizens of Liverpool or its visitors? I hope they will reconsider. I, for one will not be visiting Liverpool, but shop outside in Manchester or Cheshire Oaks.

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

Hear hear. The man is living in a fantasy island. The whole thing is an insult to the people of Liverpool.

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

Looks like we'll all be shopping and eating out of town then, doesn't it!

Val O'DromeJanuary 26th 2009.

Cycling's fine if you're not shopping. (Unless you have one of those expensive Pasklet tricycles with a big metal basket between the back wheels, of course.)Cycling is fine as long a you're not stopping anywhere and leaving your bike. Even using several locks to defeat the thief doesn't stop the thugs who smash bits off and kick your expensive bike out of shape.

Smigger from NetherleyJanuary 26th 2009.

May I suggest parking unburnt cars in their spaces then burning them? The plan of placing already burnt cars from Netherley in the spaces would be a logistical nightmare. Come on mate think it through!

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

It's utterly appalling that the city council have learned nothing from all the bad press they've had in the last two years. Let's piss off the electorate by uping the parking fees is obviously the Frank Spencer way forward. Except Frank Spencer didn't drive a fire engine. Wonder if that get's booked.

Ranter in chiefJanuary 26th 2009.

It is about time us car users started using direct action.

MichaelJanuary 26th 2009.

Not to mention all those people they had to pay off, almost a million quid for cocking up. That's the real reason for this. I shall f*ck off to Cheshire Oaks now.

Foy453January 26th 2009.

This is just ridiculous, I am getting sick of the council wasting our money then stealth taxing it out of us even more. I won't name the company I work for but I am currently drawing up an office layout so that one of the council buildings can be better used. The problem I have is the lazy dog minded people in the council not wanting to move, not liking a desk draws on their left because they are right handed, wanting their own printer on their desk because they might have to stand up and walk 6 feet etc etc. One office has only 32 people and they are askign for another printer..........they already have 8 .yes 8!!! Thats were all our money goes. I digress but it does make me mad. My girlfriend and I thought we would go the new cinema in town and have a bite to eat at the albert dock first. I got to the car park at 6.15pm Looked at the pay meters thinking it would be free after six, but just to check as you do,....but no the 'free' parking starts at 7pm (then its £2.50 all night). I couldn't pay the 2.50 as too early, and would hve to pay £4.00 for 2 hours, or pay £2.00 till 7.15pm, run out of the restaurant at the end of the hour and pay again!! Got to the new est est est, (not sure what its called now) and although nearly every table was empty got told by some orange girl that every table was reserved from around 7.30pm ....so couldn't sit us down! I said very politely that I had just parked and paid and Said we had cinema tickets and would only need one of the emptie tables for 40mins but still no!!! So went back the car and drove off wasting my parking money. I mean all the albert dock has is restaurants, and at TEA TIME you have to pay to park your car outside them and then they can't accomodate you!! This was 6.15 on a MOnday night!!! Liverpool get you bloody act together!! (A passionate and truly proud Liverpudlian).

silver tiaraJanuary 26th 2009.

theres plenty of people who come from Liverpool to Cheshire oaks shopping! its cheaper all round! no parking fees,places to eat and sales on all year!LCC will just be cutting their nose off to spite their face greedy barstewards!seems likt there'll always be a Derek Hatton type,dodgy dealer in every council i swear theres one in Chester anyway!

Motorists RightsJanuary 26th 2009.

Well,well,Well,the latest missive from the Gestapo in Chief of the Traffic Wardens is (we the Council) are going to give everyone a bike,what a load of bollocks that is. Are these people living in the real world,i doubt it.

WappingJanuary 26th 2009.

Tony, you really don't want a journalist as a politician. It's a commentator's job to offer criticism, preferably constructive, but it's a politicians job to provide solutions. It's ok for a journalist to write stupid things but it's not ok for a politician to do stupid things ...

princess parkJanuary 26th 2009.

I was waiting for something to turn up where more money was squeezed out of the people of Liverpool to pay for the so called Capital of Culture! its time you all told the Council what you thought of them!

Just the ticketJanuary 26th 2009.

Simple remedy is to cough up the charges and while you are sticking your twenty pences in a pay and display machine, ruminate on the good cause you are funding. The sleazy BT/Liverpool Direct relationship costing millions.

Ordinary MotoristJanuary 26th 2009.

Your Laz is on the ball as usual for highlighting this. I have just seen this posting on the DLIB website... CAR PARKING PLANS MADNESS SAY BUSINESS LEADERS Proposal to extend car parking charges to 8pm in Liverpool City Centre are ‘absolute madness’ according to private sector lobby group Downtown Liverpool in Business (DLIB). Chairman Frank McKenna blasted:“I cannot believe that the City Council is seriously considering this proposal in the middle of an economic downturn that has put the retail sector in real jeopardy.“On the back of the excellent Liverpool One initiative, Liverpool has a real chance of bucking the trend, attracting more shoppers than ever before. But, yet another stealth tax on the motorist will see Cheshire Oakes and the Trafford Centre benefit once again.“Retailers who pay additional taxes through the Business Improvement District (BID) should be up in arms over this plan. So much for the ‘no pain, no gain mantra through the ‘big dig’. City centre shops, bars and restaurants will be the hardest hit if this proposition is carried.”Mr. McKenna said that lessons needed to be learnt from Manchester.“At the other end of the M62, parking is free after 6pm during the week – and free all day on Sunday. The council is barmy to be considering increasing car parking charges at this time.”

AnonymousJanuary 26th 2009.

Hey Denise, ex Labour supporter, it's the Lib Dem dickheads wot do this y'know. But I suppose Warren Bradley's fire engine can park where it likes.

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