Parking - protestors outside council meeting

Controversial plans to introduce parking charges in “free” towns and hike up prices in those which already pay have been backed by councillors, writes Belinda Ryan.

Eleven members of Cheshire East’s highways and transport committee today (Thursday) voted in favour of implementing the new charges, with one voting against and one abstaining.

The decision followed a lengthy debate which saw 27 public speakers and visiting councillors address the committee – all but three were objectors.

Audlem councillor Rachel Bailey (Con), speaking as a visiting councillor, said imposing the charges on the village’s only car park meant ‘residents of Audlem will pay to mourn’.

Visiting councillor Rob Moreton (Congleton, Ind) said charging on Roe Street car park, which was used by residents attending the doctor’s surgery was tantamount to ‘taxing the sick’.

Objector Lucy Garner said Cheshire East was not considering the long-term impact of its short-term goals.

“If small businesses are forced to close because of lack of footfall it will create a bigger more devastating problem,” she said.

She added it would have a disproportionate effect on the poor and disadvantaged and asked: “Is now the time to kick those struggling when they’re down?”

Cllr Liz Wardlaw (Odd Rode), speaking as a visiting councillor, said: “Congleton nurses have approached me and advised me that their fees for daily parking will increase from £1.60 per day to £4.30 per day.

“This is going to equate to £1,000 a year.”

Committee chair Craig Browne (Alderley Edge, Ind) said the ‘free’ car parks cost the council £400,000 a year, adding in those towns where there are parking charges, those rates had increased only once since 2009.

He told the meeting: “The recommendations are very much preferable to the alternatives which might include reducing expenditure across the highways service including road maintenance or disposing of our car parks to private providers.”

Committee member Arthur Moran (Nantwich, Ind) said Nantwich had the second highest charges after Crewe.

“If Nantwich pays then it’s only fair everybody pays,” he said.

He added Nantwich residents already pay to park when they visit the doctor.

Macclesfield councillor Liz Braithwaite (Lab) said the new policy was about fairness.

An amendment proposed by Cllr Mike Sewart (Poynton, Con) for a half hour parking tariff to be introduced on one car park in every affected area was approved.

The new proposals – which will see charges introduced in the currently free areas of Alsager, Audlem, Bollington, Handforth, Holmes Chapel, Middlewich, Poynton, Prestbury and Sandbach – are expected to come into force in October.


  1. Alderley Edge already has chargeable car parks

  2. No mention of Alderley Edge Craig browne area

  3. In my Town of Crewe they have built a multi storey car park,
    Goodness knows why the town is dead and the shops are shutting down business.
    I guess the few expensive car parks we have at the moment will be sold off for private development.
    When will the local councillors listen to the public.

  4. Ithink all car park charges should’ve kept to a minimum ie 1 or 2 pounds
    You only have to look at Newcastle under Lyme to see how car parking charges have adversely affected footfall in town with the knock on effect of business closures.
    You should look to lower charges in places like Crewe and introduce reasonable charges in the more affluent Alderley Edge and Sandbach.

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