Plea to freeze car park fees
BUSINESS leaders are asking Wirral Council to freeze planned increases in car parking fees.
Prices are due to rise in line with inflation on April 1, following a resolution made by Wirral’s cabinet.
Ken Davies, chief executive of Wirral’s Chamber of Commerce, said the price hike has come at the wrong time and wants the authority to reconsider.
He told the Globe: “It would be absolutely devastating not just for Birkenhead, but for shops across Wirral, if this increase in charges goes ahead.
“This will be a blow to a town that is already hit hard by recession and could stop people coming to shop.
“It’s appalling that, in times of recession, the council would even consider this increase, no matter how small.
“We would like to request that the council throws these proposed charges out. We recently commissioned an independent study which found that the retail sector is suffering.
"Footfall is already down in Birkenhead, as is its infrastructure, so I want Wirral council to reconsider this before things get worse.
“Only Wirral could do this, particularly when every other council in the country is trying to make things easier for taxpayers by reducing the cost of such things like parking charges.”
His concern is shared by Derek Millar, commercial director for the Grange and Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead, who fears the increase will have a knock-on effect for businesses across the town centre.
He said: “We’re disappointed that the council have said they will be putting the prices up.
“Our concern is that any increase will affect our customers who may decide to go shopping in Liverpool or Chester, instead.
“Customers have got very little money as it is these days without having to worry about having the right amount to be able to park.
“It’s not the right thing to do at this time.”
A council spokesman said: “Cabinet decided some years ago that off-street parking charges in the borough should go up each year in line with inflation and the increase from April 1 this year is in keeping with that resolution.”
The proposed changes include... Seaview Road, Liscard: Currently 70p for up to one hour's parking - this will remain.
Currently 80p for up to two hour's parking - this will remain.
Proposed increase from £1.20p to £1.25p for up to three hours parking, from £2.10 to £2.40p for up to four hours, from £3.30p to £3.40p for up to five hours, £4.60 to £4.80p for up to six hours and from £7.80 to £8.10p for more than six hours parking.
Oliver Street 4, Birkenhead: Proposed increase from £7.80 to £8.10 for over five hours.
Oliver Street 3, Birkenhead: Proposed increase from £4 to £4.20p for upto five hours parking.
Oliver Street 2, Birkenhead: Proposed increase from £4 to £4.20p for up to five hours.
Market traders in Birkenhead will have to pay annual permit charges of £690, with those in Liscard paying £480 and Heswall and West Kirby £350.
The deadline for objections to the proposed increases is March 27.
Only a week ago, a plan to extend car parking charging until 8pm in Liverpool was put on hold when the city's Liberal Democrat administration had a rethink.
They agreed not to implement the controversial change at least until an inquiry has concluded.
But some parking charges for Sefton, the borough covering the north of Merseyside, are due to be raised in an attempt to stop commuters from taking up most of the spaces. THE WIRRAL GLOBE