This report presents the findings and recommendations from the Cross Party Working Group commissioned by Cabinet in October 2020.
Portfolio Holder – Councillor Wallace Redford
Councillor Wallace Redford (Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning) explained the background to the setting up of the cross party working group, noting that in 2007, Cabinet initially agreed parking policies based on the principle that charges for residents permits should be based on the cost of administering the scheme and should not be profit making. In 2020 Cabinet took the decision to hold permit prices due to the impact of the pandemic but asked that a cross party working group be set up to review the pricing structure. Councillor Redford summarised the recommendations that were set out in the report, particularly noting the recommendation to introduce a tiered charging system for multi-car households which included deletion of the third residents’ permit. The group also recommended that charges should be reviewed every three years in line with inflation and that a 25% discount should be available for electric vehicles, with the proviso that only one 25% discount could be applied per household. Whilst the working group’s recommendations initially excluded hybrid models from the proposed discount scheme, Councillor Wallace indicated that his subsequent discussions had led him to propose that Cabinet include hybrid models in the discount scheme. Councillor Redford also advised that the working group had recommended that the concept of a business permit be explored further, that the cost of the guesthouse visitor parking scheme should rise as set out in the report and that pay and display charges should at least match those charged by the District and Borough Councils. Councillor Redford stressed that the residents’ permit charges should remain non-profit making and stated that the proposed charges would result in an average permit cost of £60 across the entire permit uptake, which was close to the externally assessed value of £63 per permit. Councillor Redford noted the working group’s recommendation to review the impact of the increases 12 months after their implementation.
Councillor Isobel Seccombe (Leader of the Council) welcomed the paper and thanked the working group for their efforts. She noted the comparison data on the charges made by other local authorities, which reflected the position of Warwickshire not to increase charges in 2020 as part of the drive to support post-Covid recovery in the town centres, and reflected on the current international situation with residents facing numerous financial increases and that it would be important to now reflect their interests in the scheme alongside those of business and the town centres. She suggested that Cabinet defer implementation of the pricing of on street parking only, not permits, for 12 months so that the impact of cost of living rises could be better understood.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse noted that the working group had undertaken a valuable task but that there was not unanimous agreement on the recommendations set out at paragraph 2.5 and he considered that future reports of this nature should be more clear on voting matters. Councillor Roodhouse highlighted that key workers, such as a domiciliary care worker who had been in touch with ... view the full minutes text for item 4