Free residents’ parking permits could be scrapped in Stockport after being branded ‘unfair’ by councillors.
More than half of the borough’s schemes are paid for – with people stumping up £41.50 to park near their own homes – but the remainder are not.
But all that could be about to change under proposals to save the council £350k over the 2022/23 financial year.
READ MORE : Council bosses say they cannot force hospital to stop people parking on nearby streets despite planning agreement
Councillor Sheila Bailey, cabinet member for Sustainable Stockport, told a scrutiny committee meeting that it was an opportunity to tackle the inherent ‘unfairness’.
She said: “At the moment it is an unfair scheme, I think and one that we perhaps should maybe have put right some time ago.
“But there is an opportunity now to bring them in line and also increases income which increases the ability of the council to enforce [the schemes].”
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At present all new schemes are paid for and a consultation with residents is triggered whenever a street is resurfaced.
But that still leaves a large number of ‘legacy’ schemes that have never been paid for.
“What’s happening, in effect, is the people who are paying are subsidising the people who aren’t,” Coun Bailey added.
“Nobody likes to pay any more than they are paying, I understand that completely, but in the interests of fairness it seems to be that is also part of the same consideration.”
Councillor Matt Wynne agreed that it was an ‘equitable proposal’.
“I have thought for some time it’s not fair that some residents don’t pay for permits while others do,” he told the meeting.
“We are talking about £2 per month for the premium of being able to park outside your house or nearabouts.
“It is a premium in today’s society where our residential streets really struggle with the volume of vehicles that are on them.”
Should the proposal be taken up, it would mean each street with a free parking permit scheme would be consulted on whether to shift to paid permits or abandon them altogether.
However, there would be no compulsion for residents to buy a permit if they did not wish to – as Coun Malcolm Allen pointed out.
“If there’s a scheme that is currently unpaid and it becomes paid, people don’t have to buy permits, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“I don’t’ think this is a hugely controversial scheme. And whilst I know some people struggle to pay – and it maybe the most disadvantaged that struggle to pay – I’ve never yet found anybody that say it is an outrageous price.”
Coun Allen added: “If people can afford or need to run a car they take into account the costs associated with it.”
The proposal comes under the ‘robust governance’ section of a document looking at the council’s finances over the next three financial years.
It also suggests scrapping the roads budget delegated to ward councillors in favour of a more centralised approach.
Stockport council’s communities and housing scrutiny committee met on Monday night (January 17).
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