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A residents’ group has called for Lichfield District Council to ensure any changes to parking charges offer a fair deal for all parties.
A report recently revealed plans to increase the overall cost as well as the time period when the tariff applies.
Beacon Street Area Residents Association (BSARA) has recently entered preliminary talks with Staffordshire County Council over a parking scheme to prevent commuters and shoppers from clogging up nearby residential roads.
But Bob Smith, chairman of BSARA, said the group recognised the need for a balanced approach to parking.
“The issue has escalated to a point where all sections of the community are acknowledging that there is a serious parking problem within Lichfield,” he said. “BSARA recognise that it is impossible to meet the aspirations of every motorist seeking a place to park their car. It is essential for our local authorities to have a parking strategy that is fair an is equitable for all citizens.
“Parking charges are emotive and regarded as a tax on motoring, particularly if delivered by a public body. Lichfield District Council does have a monopoly over the public car parks in the city.
“It remains to be seen who will manage the Friarsgate car park if developed and whether the ‘Woolies’ car park will survive if the Bird Street site is developed as suggested in the draft neighbourhood plan.
“Seeking a practical solution, we have now opted to explore the feasibility of resident parking schemes to try to ensure that people can park within a reasonable distance of their homes.
“These schemes cost money to introduce and maintain, meaning that residents would have to contribute financially if they wish to be able to street park in the vicinity of their homes.
“In addition, parking restriction zones may have to be introduced to reduce the risk of moving the problem into other areas.
“BSARA considers that councils should work with communities to develop a practical parking strategy that will cater to the needs of residents, workers in the city, shoppers, visitors and coaches to park economically.”
Lichfield District Council’s director of parks, Neil Turner, had questioned plans to implement price rises in Beacon Park.
He suggested that local residents could object if parking tariffs go up and move more cars onto nearby residential roads.
Mr Smith welcomed his recognition of the challenges faced by locals living near the park – but insisted residents had been “very tolerant”.
“For Beacon Park to retain its premier park status it does need parking to attract visitors,” Mr Smith said.
“It is good that the park management recognises the frustrations being created for local residents.
“However, BSARA would question the comment about ‘being very protective about their own street’ – residents have been very tolerant with the disruption caused by large events.”