Controversial plans to shorten the period of free parking in the city centre and make it more expensive are being considered by Liverpool City Council.
It is hoped the move will generate an additional £1.6m a year to the council’s budget. However, the proposal is facing criticism.
The Liverpool Car Parking Zone is a regulated area where currently on-street parking is restricted between 8am to 6pm and free after that.
Under the new proposals, the operational hours would be extended from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week, along with a proposed increase of 10p per half hour.
However, as the plans go ahead that is most likely to change within six months, affecting the central area, Everton, Princes Park, and Riverside.
A review of parking arrangements is to be reported to the Council’s Cabinet on Friday, March 24.
The proposal, discussed since November 2022, was raised at yesterday’s Neighbourhood’s Select Committee meeting.
What about the economy?
The main concerns raised during the meeting included the possible negative effects for local business owners.
Councillor Richard Clein, said: “Hospitality in the city is really struggling at the moment so we shouldn’t be doing something that makes them struggle even more.”
He also pointed the adverse effects on the night time economy.
Councillor Clein said the plans may put off people visiting Liverpool theatres. Previously theatre-goers have travelled in knowing that after certain hour the parking is free.
He added: “What we’re being told is that money raised from this is going to be invested into more important investments in the city.”
Current on-street parking charges in the CPZ:
Up to 30 minutes – £1.20
Up to 1 hour – £2.40
Up to 1 hour 30 minutes – £3.60
Up to 2 hours – £4.80
Up to 4 hours (max stay) – £6.00
The proposed new charge is still lower than other major UK cities according to Ken Prior, Head of Parking.
The changes would help to generate an additional £1.6m a year.
The council says it would reinvest the revenue to other services across the city. It is also hoped the extension of the hours would create more spaces for resident and business permit holders.
Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins said that the proposal aims to discourage people from driving into the city centre.
Councillor Clein, however, believes that the public transport in the city is “just not good enough” at the moment.
He said: ” That’s why people use their cars. It’s because the public transport is just not an alternative they would want to use.”
What is the current situation?
The other key issue raised during the meeting were insufficient numbers of parking wardens across the city.
Councillor Robertson-Collins said: “The wild west that we currently have across the city is because we can’t afford to employ enough enforcement outside the city center. The reason we undertook that piece of work was to find a way of funding that.”
Councillor Clein, similarly, expressed his concerns about the current situation with parking: He said: “It’s out of control in this city, people park wherever they like in the city, on reservations, grass, corners, double yellow lines, at junctions.
“It’s ridiculous and it’s a huge problem in the city.”
Local businesses are waiting to see what will happen.
Ellis, a bartender at the Excelsior, said: “I have at least one customer a day asking for change for the parking and it is usually nearer to a tenner than a fiver.
“A lot of people, visitors, ask me where can they park or is there anywhere they can park for cheaper and I struggle to point them in the right direction because it seems like there isn’t anywhere.”