RESIDENTS’ parking in Plymouth is overdue for a shake-up, city councillors have been told.
The city has 53 controlled parking zones, with 23 variations of hours and restrictions, members of a scrutiny review panel heard yesterday.
David Parlby, chief executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, called for a “one price fits all” policy to save confusion for businesses and residents.
But Cllr Chaz Singh (Lab, Drake), a panel member, said he believed business people were capable of understanding parking. “A one price policy doesn’t fit all,” he said.
Mr Parlby said businesses would prefer to have no parking charges at all because there was evidence that the longer people stayed in an area, the more business was done.
He urged the council to use modern technology to improve the parking system, such as on-street meters which allowed motorists to pay at the end of their parking session.
The council should also have meters which give drivers change, he said. He said businesses had the perception that parking charges were there to make money for the council.
And Mr Parlby called for business parking zones alongside residents’ parking.
Cllr Ian Darcy (Con, Plympton Erle), the panel chair, said the city had no policy on controlled parking zones and needed to introduce one.
Cllr George Wheeler (Lab, St Budeaux) said Aberystwyth in Wales did away with restrictions 18 months ago and “the city came to a standstill”.
Simon Dale, the interim assistant director for street services, said: “The way the city is zoned is unsatisfactory. It’s costly, and possibly inefficient, too.”
Cllr Mark Coker, the city’s Cabinet member for transport, said parking was a real issue in his ward of Devonport.
He said the lack of controlled parking zones around the new developments in Kerr Street and Duke Street had created a “free-for-all”.
“This is a problem that has been going on since I have been a councillor and it needs to be tackled.”
Phil Durrant, the council’s parking operations co-ordinator, said there were 25 to 30 incidents a day where residents complained about people parking illegally in residents’ parking zones.
He said that in one area where residents’ parking came into force at 2pm, you could see office workers running to their cars at 1.55pm to move them to a neighbouring street where controlled parking was about to expire.
The review continues, and will provide a recommendation for reforms to the city’s Cabinet.