Plan to ensure Ellesmere Port's parking provision remains fit for purpose unveiled

23 November 2017

An action plan to ensure parking in Ellesmere Port is fit for purpose and positively contributes to the town’s economy has been published.
 
The plan, designed to better manage car parking demand across the town, is part of the Council’s 15-year parking strategy. 
 
It will see fairer and consistent tariffs across different car parks, attractive offers to replace the Free after 3 scheme, and a clear investment programme to improve the quality of car parking and attract more visitors and shoppers.
 
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore, said: “Our population and car ownership rates are steadily rising and land available for car parking is decreasing.
                                                                                            
“Over the coming years, the Council needs to invest in car parks so that we have enough clean and safe spaces, in the right places, with clear signage and new technology to make it easier and more convenient for people coming to Ellesmere Port town centre by car.
 
“With this action plan for Ellesmere Port we are introducing the right offers in the right places to encourage visitors, improving disabled provision, and reducing congestion and air pollution.
 
“Parking in the town will be easier and more accessible for everyone, supporting residents and businesses. Changes to parking charges to make them simpler will ensure everyone can park where they need to. 
 
“To support businesses better, and to increase the time shoppers spend in the town, we want to introduce a range of more flexible offers to encourage trade throughout the day and ease the pressure on the evening peak hour.  The current ‘Free after 3 ’ scheme services a small amount of people so instead we’re bringing in a range of offers that cater for all types of people wanting to visit Ellesmere Port.”
 
Key actions within the plan include:
 
Changes to parking tariffs
Changes to parking charges will help to support short stay parking in central car parks and encourage longer stay parking at the town’s outer facilities.
 
This will see simplified, reduced rates being implemented, which are easier to understand:
  • Town centre – maintain current tariff (weekdays)
  • Civic centre – increased long stay rate to ensure availability
  • Shrewsbury Road - cheaper tariff to encourage demand
  • McGarva Way – cheaper tariff to encourage demand
  • Wellington Road North – cheaper tariff to encourage demand
  • Westminster – flat rate tariff to increase demand
A flat rate of 50 pence all day will be introduced across all car parks on Saturdays, which is cheaper than current rates in all car parks for stays above two hours. 

Sundays tariffs are the same as weekdays but may vary due to seasonal discounts and offers
 
Investment in maintaining and improving car parks 
The Council has committed to ensure that:
  • car parks are safe and clean
  • we have enough parking for people with mobility problems
  • we have good signage 
  • we use new technology to make visits easier and flexible
To support this, local parking provision in need of maintenance has been identified within the action plan and a programme of long-term investment will ensure that all facilities are brought up to standard. 
 
A programme of quality improvement works will start between January and June 2018.
 
The works to be carried out will raise the standard of the most used car parks to the best industry standard:  
  • Lighting and CCTV improvements will be carried out to improve driver safety and the users’ experience, particularly after dark
  • Signage within car parks and on streets directing drivers to the most suitable car park, including up-to-date information on space availability, will assist visitors
  • The introduction of new technology offering a range of payment methods, including cards and phones will make visits easier and more flexible.
  • Improving the size, quality and number of spaces for drivers with mobility issues.
Options to replace Free after 3
Analysis suggests that Free after 3 is having only a limited impact, while contributing to the evening peak in traffic and air pollution.  
 
Alternatives offers include:
  • Reduced tariffs in some car parks
  • Weekend discounts 
  • Offers during quiet seasonal periods
  • Offers such as spend and save 
A key option the Council will look to develop with businesses is a ‘spend and save’ offer where participating retailers refund or part-pay for parking charges when customers spend with them.

Free after 3 will be replaced by the end of January 2018.
 
Cllr Shore added: “We’re making big strides with this action plan to really invest in our car parks for the future and the fairest way to generate the income needed to make this level of investment, and contribute towards the savings the Council must make, is for those who use the service and who own a car to contribute.”  The full action plan can be found at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/parkingstrategy2017.  
 
A number of Traffic Regulation Orders will be published soon detailing the plans to change restrictions and tariffs and will be available to view via the same web address. 
 

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