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Parking meter plans for Christchurch are put on hold by council
CONTROVERSIAL plans to charge people for on-street parking in Christchurch have been delayed.
The announcement was made at a meeting of Christchurch council on Tuesday, after concerns were expressed by Cllr Colin Bungey about the effect on traders with questions raised as to whether the council could veto the move.
But it was revealed Dorset County Council, who will take control of the on-street parking service from April, will not be installing the meters just yet.
Cllr Trevor Watts said the decision had been delayed due to the “hard work by members and our county councillors”.
“Any proposal to install on-street parking would be subject to public consultation and Christchurch Borough Council would be able to object at that stage”, he added.
Dorset County Council said last year the current parking services return a deficit of £59,518 – something they want to turn around.
Plans were outlined to replace existing limited waiting bays in town centre areas with pay and display, designed to collect an extra income of £50,000 for the county council.
Concerns were expressed by Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Christchurch council, who described it as a “retrograde step” saying they were disappointed with the county council’s decision.
Peter Watson-Lee, president of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “With the rejection by our local Christchurch council of any attempt to improve the parking regime in Christchurch, the imposition by the county council of parking meters in the High Street would be the finish of the town centre.
“We have had no consultation or explanation for what is clearly just another attempt to suck money out of anyone visiting the town.
“We do not want parking meters at all and suggesting that they be ‘put off’ for a year is no help.
“It is like being put on death row without a trial – and then being expected to be grateful for a temporary stay of execution.”
Consultations across Dorset
Matthew Piles, Dorset County Council traffic manager, said: “We are currently rolling out the introduction of on-street parking regulations across Dorset, in line with Government policy.
“The aim is to ease congestion in town centres, manage traffic more effectively and support businesses by allowing a better turn-over of customers. All income generated goes back into the road maintenance budget.
"More on-street parking has already been introduced in places such as Swanage and Dorchester, and the county council takes over highways enforcement responsibilities from Christchurch Borough Council in April.
“No specific date has been set for the introduction of wider on-street parking in Christchurch. We will carry out full consultation with both borough council members and county councillors representing the area before the scheme is implemented."