Beginning March 31, new on-street parking charges will be introduced at three separate on-street waiting bays near the city centre of Chester. Charges will be introduced for cars parked at City Road, Foregate Street, and Brooke Street as part of a new strategy to manage demand for parking at these locations. These changes will be implemented with the goal of ensuring adequate parking spaces are available for local shoppers, restaurants, and bars while providing more opportunities for residents as well as visitors to find parking in the city centre.
This new parking strategy for the city of Chester coming from the Chester West and Chester Council is the result of a long-term strategic plan to address the lack of parking spaces for those who need them within the city centre of Cheshire. Councillor Karen Shire, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, has said that the “introduction of charges in these locations will ensure everyone can park where they need to, when they need to.”
She continued to say that due to a lack of available parking areas under the current structure, vehicles often were found parked on pavement where yellow lines are present, in locations where they weren’t supposed to park. This situation has the potential to cause significant road safety issues. The new parking charges are designed to limit use of on-street parking in the Cheshire city centre to residents and visitors who are actively visiting the shops, restaurants, and other services within the busiest part of the city centre.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the implementation of these changes from their planned schedule of being introduced last year. Originally, the change was publicised through public notices from 27th February of last year, with the plan that the change would take effect on 6th May 2020. But with delays to the Chester Council’s plans caused by COVID-19, the proposed changes will now take effect on 31st March of this year.
As part of these changes to Chester’s on-street parking, the permitted length of stay on City Road is being increased to 2 hours, and on Foregate Street it is being increased to 1 hour. At Brooke Street, the permitted length of parking is remaining at 1 hour in order to accommodate the large number of vehicles that park at that location throughout the day.
The charges at these parking locations will apply at specific times of day. On City Road and Foregate Street, the new charges will apply between 8am and 9pm. On Brooke Street, the new charges will apply between 6pm and 9pm. The limited schedule of charges on Brooke Street is due to concerns expressed to the Chester Council by local business owners that the charges would significantly add to the cost of relatively low value purchases. Because of this, new charges will only be in effect during evening hours on Brooke Street.
Another specific to note is that charging will begin on City Road at 2pm on Sundays. The charges will be at a rate of 1 pound per hour at City Road and Foregate Street, and there will be a 1-pound flat rate charge at Brooke Street. Return will be prohibited within one hour of parking.
All of these changes to the parking structure of Chester were made by the council with the aim of positively contributing to the Chester economy while they play a role in the council’s 15-year parking strategy. These changes have been deemed “fit for purpose” and in line with the council’s long-term plans and will help to remedy the current parking availability problems that are often an issue for visitors to the Chester city centre.
The hope is that implementing these changes to the current parking structure within Chester will free up parking spaces by encouraging shorter stays at each parking location. This will enable both locals and visitors to have greater access to the shops, restaurants, and services within the Chester city centre. This decision has been done with the goal of increasing the economic vitality of Chester, especially in its urban centre. With projects like these, the city council hopes to further develop the economic prospects of the city of Chester.