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Resident parking permits change planned across Preston and South Ribble but midwives and health workers could lose out

Posted on - 26th May, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, Roads, Transport
A permit holders only parking sign in Bairstow Street, Preston Pic: Blog Preston
A permit holders only parking sign in Bairstow Street, Preston Pic: Blog Preston

Householders in Preston and South Ribble could be due a reduction in parking costs following a consultation by Lancashire County Council.

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The council is asking for people’s views on changes being proposed to residents’ parking schemes across the county to make them work fairly and consistently across the county. 

But midwives and health visitors could be charged for parking permits, whereas they have been able to claim free permits for when out visiting in the community, a move that has been roundly criticised by the Lancashire Labour group.

The council has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a standard price of £25 for annual permits, and make changes to the types of permits available in some areas. 

The cost of a permit and types of permit available currently vary as the schemes were established by different district councils.

However in 2018 the county council took over their administration and has reviewed the way they work with the aim of making them operate more fairly, consistently, and efficiently. 

Permits signs on the entrance to Bairstow Street Pic: Blog Preston
Permits signs on the entrance to Bairstow Street Pic: Blog Preston

The council has written to over 9,000 residents across the county – including hundreds of Preston householders – who are eligible for residents parking permits as part of a formal consultation into changing the terms of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), which makes them legally enforceable. 

The new scheme being proposed means no change for many current permit holders as a number of the schemes in place already charge £25 per permit.

It will mean a price drop for some permit holders in Lancaster, Preston and South Ribble, and only permits in Chorley and Pendle currently cost less. 

The new scheme will also offer residents in many schemes the opportunity to buy a second £25 permit for visitors. This will simplify arrangements currently in place in some areas where visitors’ permits can be used a limited number of times before being renewed, and other types of permit are also available for businesses, doctors, and carers. 

Under the new scheme being proposed all visitors’ permits would be registered to an address, making them easier to administer and enforce, and potentially improving opportunities for residents to park. Residents with visitor permits can offer them to anyone who needs to park nearby while visiting them. 

Read more: Fishergate bus lane IT glitch leads to higher penalty payment demands to drivers

To support environmental challenges the new scheme also proposes to waive the charge for vehicle specific permits for fully electric vehicles. 

Peter Bell, regulation and enforcement manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “The changes being proposed are intended to bring fairness and consistency to the way residents’ parking schemes operate across Lancashire. 

“The schemes currently differ between districts, but now they’re being administered on a countywide basis it makes sense to ensure they operate along the same lines as far as possible. 

“In some areas the changes amount to simplifying the way the schemes operate and we hope this will also make them work better for residents. 

“It will mean no change for many residents, and minor changes for most others, however I would ask people to respond as part of the consultation so that any comments in support of, or objecting to, these proposals can be considered.”

What Labour had to say on the proposals

The move to take away parking permits for health and care professionals. These allowed them to park in resident-only areas.

County councillor for Lancaster South East Erica Lewis said: “Lancashire County Council, in its attempt to find a one-size fits all solution to parking across Lancashire, has removed all mention of carer permits from its parking regulations consultation.

“Local care providers have previously raised concerns that that the removal of carers permits will have a negative impact on the care they can provide. Short visit times and already bursting schedules mean that a need to either park outside the residents parking zone, or to go into the home to get a permit and come back out again, will mean less time for care.”

Lancaster East councillor Lizzi Collinge said: “I’m at a loss as to why the County Council didn’t take this opportunity to spread carers permits across Lancashire, as myself and Cllr Lewis have lobbied for. I know from speaking with health visitors and midwives that this omission from the new parking scheme will affect patient care and staff’s ability to do their job.

“Midwives have to carry heavy baby scales and have a lot of families to see in one day; how will they manage their caseload with extra time faffing with parking? One health visitor I spoke to explained that not all families welcome having a health visitor call and that having to ask for a parking permit would make an already difficult visit even harder.”

Read more: See the latest politics news in Preston

What happens next?

If objections are received these will be included in a report to the cabinet member for highways and transport for a decision. Any responses must be received before the consultation ends on 14 June 2019. 

You can see the proposals at the Lancashire County Council website.

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