Parking problems predicted under new Lancashire permit plan

The price of permits looks set to be standardised - but will the system make it easier for residents to park close to their homes?
The price of permits looks set to be standardised - but will the system make it easier for residents to park close to their homes?

A Chorley resident is warning that parking in some of the borough’s streets will become a “free-for-all” if changes to a permit system are approved next week.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet looks set to give the green light to a standardised scheme which will equalise the cost of different types of permit in different districts at £25 per year. There would be no change to the streets where permits operate - and electric vehicles would be exempt from any charge for them.

One Chorley resident has already resorted to putting notes on the windscreens of vehicles parking without a permit in her street

One Chorley resident has already resorted to putting notes on the windscreens of vehicles parking without a permit in her street

The move would see Chorley residents paying £10 more than they currently do for a first permit, but £10 less for a second one. However, the change would mean that the price of a business permit would plummet by almost £200.

The authority says that the revised scheme will be "fair and equitable" for all.

But as the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported earlier this year when a public consultation was launched, some Chorley residents fear that it will make obtaining permits much more attractive for businesses - and leave locals close to the town centre struggling to find a space outside their own homes.

Springfield Road resident, Joanne Rostron, says she is shocked that the new scheme has been recommended for approval without differentiating between households and businesses.

“There are about four car parks around here which are free for three hours and only a few pounds after that - so why should businesses be allowed to park vehicles in residential streets?

“There are more residents than spaces in these streets and this will make matters worse.

“There are people who, for medical or mobility reasons, cannot park elsewhere and then walk to their homes, perhaps carrying shopping as well,” Joanne said.

She also criticised a lack of enforcement from traffic wardens.

“I repeatedly see vehicles parked up without permits, but the wardens are more interested in catching people out for overstaying in the town centre car parks. I put a note on a car a while ago - it had parked directly beneath a sign saying ‘permits only’.”

Papers to be presented to cabinet members next week state that the council will “respond” if residents highlight when drivers are flouting the law.

“Residents parking schemes seek to remove the external influence of other cars in an area, for example town centre workers, football fans or hospital visitors. They do not guarantee a parking space for a permit holder,” the report notes.

A maximum of two permits would be available in Chorley, while a lack of space means that there would continue to be no visitor permits offered in the borough.

PERMIT PLANS IN PRESTON AND SOUTH RIBBLE

This is what will happen elsewhere in Central Lancashire if the proposals are approved next week:

In Preston, the price of a first permit for residents will fall by £4 and drop by £20 for a second one. Business permits in the city will be £100 cheaper under the proposal and Preston will be the only part of Lancashire where doctors are eligible for a permit. Two visitor permits will also be permitted.

In South Ribble, the sole residents’ permit available will fall in price by £4, while the current visitor book of permits covering 20 four-hour visits for £5 will be replaced with a single £25 visitor permit. No business permits will be available in South Ribble.