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Manchester City Centre Parking Charge Changes…

November 14, 2011

Earlier in the year, we fought parking proposals which the Council were seeking to implement in West Didsbury. Now, not only do we work in West Didsbury. We live here too. And have done for a good few years. So, while we really love the area, we know that there are downsides to it.

A big one being the fact that parking IS a problem.

We live in an area that’s changed over time. When the houses that we live in were built, people didn’t have cars. The houses were generally family homes, not split into multi-occupancy flats, as many are now. There weren’t as many amenities as there are now. So, the sums are really quite easy. More people, more amentities, more cars = parking problems. But, as both residents and a business, we felt that what was being proposed was far too heavy-weight and wouldn’t benefit the community. Eventually, the scheme was thrown out.

It’s now the turn of the City Centre. Of course there are MANY sides to the argument – and yes, it would be absolutely wonderful if everyone used public transport or cycled or walked. But sometimes that’s not practical, and sometimes people do need to use cars to get around.

From the beginning of November, parking regulations have changed in Manchester City Centre. Did you know, for example,  that free parking is no longer after 6pm? It’s now after 8pm. And that’s not the only change. Check here to see what’s now been implemented…

This blog isn’t a rant about parking charges. It’s about letting people know about some fairly radical changes, that so far, don’t seem to have been overly well publicised. The MEN reported at the weekend that over 5000 tickets hade been issued in the first two weeks of the scheme, and that the majority of people contesting tickets were doing so on the grounds of inadequate signage/information.

But, it’s also about putting out there, that in the middle of the debate about parking charges are small, independent businesses who RELY on people being able to come into the City Centre, and at certain times, be able to park fairly easily. It’s about independent businesses who’ve had the balls to make their vision a reality, in a recession, and who now are facing loss of business, because the reality is, there are big out of town retail parks, where everything (including free parking) is usually under one roof.

So, be aware of the changes and hopefully avoid a ticket. But, also be aware of the implications for already struggling businesses…

TWITTER RESPONSES

 

Parking charge is an easy way for MCC to make money in the face of disproportionate budget cuts by our caring sharing govt. It will affect pre theatre trade in bars & eateries. Night out at R Ex costs nearly £10 more now than this time last year. And just before the city is swamped in the evenings for the Christmas markets eh???! (@janetmarland)

Unhappy is an understatement! Out of principal, no more shopping for me in town, #TraffordCentre all the way! (@miss_ieva_x)

Bearing in mind it cost me £5.70 to park for two hours between 6pm and 8pm tonight – they can fuck right off… (@anniewallace)

New parking regs are a progressive start to a pedestrian/cycling friendly city. driving & parking are privileges not rights. (@caseybergman)

Incensed! Quality of my city-visiting life has plummeted! Not a good move; a very bad one in fact. (@turkish_travels)

This argument is made over & over in Manchester w/no evidence. Pls point to facts that parking enforcement affects business. (@caseybergman)

@caseybergman @didsburylife the new regs affect 6 to 8pm period. Many, esp women, prefer security of car at night partic if coming home late (@janetmarland)

I think it’s perfectly logical. Many shops now open till 8pm. And it’s not like other forms of transport have it so easy. (@aka_hige)

Totally agree.we didn’t need this at a point where public confidence in govt appears to be rock-bottom. (@raam_s13)

The parking charges are ridiculous! I teach some classes at a dance studio in town and hate paying for parking 😦 It will also affect the numbers visiting the studio as people won’t want to pay to attend AND to park. Bad 4 the studio owner. (@beckyzumba)

The issue is if parking enforcement affects small business sales/viability or it is a populist red-herring? (@caseybergman)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christine permalink
    November 15, 2011 11:12 am

    Parking is a nightmare in the Northern. Quarter, I live here and family cannot visit unless they pay to come and see me! It’s really not on, the parking charges are isolating people who live in the city centre from family and friends, shame on you council.

  2. Gary Gregory permalink
    November 15, 2011 12:15 pm

    The Council have been quite open and stated that this is all about revenue creation, and with the recent austerity measures announced by the government I think that many can see that The Council do need to raise additional revenue from a variety of measures.

    Now I’m a frequent visitor to the city centre and I can honestly say that finding an onstreet parking bay after 6:00pm has never been a problem, sure I might not have been able to park right outside the theatre or restaurant but I always found somewhere fairly convenient.

    Now if you can’t give away parking spaces after six in the evening, what do The Council seriously expect to happen if they start charging for them?

    The recent decision appears to be based upon short term thinking. While parking revenue may rise the numbers of people coming into Manchester when they have a say in the matter will undoubtedly fall which will have a knock on effect on businesses that predominantly operate in the evenings.

    And once those businesses scale back their operations there is even less reason to go into Manchester. Before you know it we no longer have the vibrant 24 hour city we are all proud of, but instead we have a deserted wasteland after the workers have gone home.

    There needs to be a balance between the needs of the businesses located in the town centre and the needs of the council, something that appears lacking so far.

    The only positive is that smaller businesses located on the periphery of the City Centre will see a rise in custom, which is scant consolation for those in the centre.

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