Saturday, 1 December 2012

Parking charges plan for Knowle

SHOPPERS will be charged to park for more than three hours in Knowle under plans from council bosses.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is looking at introducing charges of up to £2.40  (see below) in a bid to free up spaces and bring in funds for the cash-strapped local authority.

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The council runs six free car parks with 313 spaces at the back of the Greswolde Arms, around the village hall, the back of Natwest, by Tesco and at Lodge Croft.

These are limited to two to four hours and charges would be expected to apply from 8am to 6pm.

It is to consult on three options for charges and the authority plans to have charges in place by July 1.

A council report said: “Demand for parking in Knowle remains high, with the spaces closest to the village’s shopping centre being well used. Vehicles can be seen frequently touring the car parks looking for space in the prime locations.

“In sufficient capacity has also been a problem in the past which leads to an increased level of parking in the adjacent un-restricted residential streets. It is also important to provide the right balance between short and long stay parking.

“Too much long stay parking from employees will prevent customers being able to access their preferred shopping facility.”

And it said enforcement by traffic wardens is “difficult and time consuming” and the council has to find funds for maintenance costs.

Charges would allow a “higher turnover of vehicles” and “a potential new source of revenue to help meet the council’s efficiency targets” it added.

The council’s parking services department has to make £449,500 savings by 2015. It said its budget - £1.2m this year – is under “significant pressure” from rising costs and under-use.

It said last month’s approval of a Waitrose supermarket for St John’s Close – expected by 2014 – will “increase demand for parking in the area generally”.

The plans - to also affect Shirley and Brueton and Malvern parks – come after the authority scrapped pay-on-foot machines for pay and display at its Mell Square car park.

Council cabinet member for transport Ted Richards will be asked to give his support at a meeting on December 6. Traders and councillors will then be consulted.

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