Special Report: ‘Too much demand’ blamed for street parking price rise

Ecclesall Road
Ecclesall Road

Council makes U-turn to bring back controversial pricing plan for city suburbs almost a year after their own report led to a huge public backlash. But will it get people out of cars?

On-street parking prices are set to rise in Sheffield because of ‘too much demand’.

Mushroom Lane. Picture: Andrew Roe

Mushroom Lane. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield Council bosses want to slap an extra 20p per hour to park in places such as Ecclesall Road, Crookesmoor, Hillsborough, Sharrow Vale, Broomhill and Fir Vale.

It will now cost drivers 70p per hour to park but residents will be able to get an extra 20 minutes for free with a valid ticket.

Sheffield Council scrapped the idea last year but after further discussions they are set to roll out the changes later this year.

Local authority chiefs made a U-turn on the plans to hike prices from 50p an hour to 70p in August 2016.

I think the fact you’ll need a 50p and a 20p will annoy people’

The report was pulled from the council website after a public backlash.

Even cabinet member responsible for transport, Councillor Mazher Iqbal, distanced himself from the report

Now a new report reveals the council want to rehash the plans with claims the council will pocket more than half a million pounds each year.

The report cites that parking demand ‘currently outstrips supply’ in the Non-City Centre Parking Zone (NCCPZ).

Areas will have a rise from £4 to £4.50 on a 10-hour maximum stay.

Areas along and surrounding London Road will have the maximum stay reduced to eight hours but for a price of £2.80.

No changes will be made to charges in the city centre or parks.

The report states the council is ‘not required’ to consult on parking charge rises but a legal notice will be published in The Star or Telegraph giving 21 days’ notice.

But residents and businesses and opposition councillors are not happy with the changes.

Lib Dem Coun Ian Auckland said: “By putting up charges in district shopping centres, people will be put people off using their local independent businesses who are already struggling to compete with large supermarkets.

“The council should be doing all it can to help local businesses, rather than milking their customers for extra cash.”

John Darwin who works at the Sheffield Photographic Centre on Ecclesall Road said: “They changed the pricing about four years ago and they didn’t tell anybody and it probably would’ve been that way again this time around.

“I can’t see what benefit it brings other than the council getting more and more cash. I just think targeting car users to park up is an easy and simple idea.

“I don’t agree with it and I think you would struggle to find anyone who would be completely 100 per cent behind the plan.

“They need to think about local businesses and take that into account when they do something like this.

“It was the traders who asked for parking controls in the first instance to stop people parking wherever they want but I think it’s gone too far the other way now.”

John Jenkins, another shop owner on Ecclesall Road said: “I don’t agree with it in principle but I suppose when you have to pay for services you need then you need to do it somehow.

“I think the fact you’ll need a 50p and a 20p to park up will annoy people the most. It’s easy just to chuck a 50p in for the hour but having to find extra change will be irritating.”

Dana Smith, aged 32, from Ecclesall said: “I honestly can’t see how an increase would encourage more people to ditch the car. It’s by far the most convenient mode of transport.

“I get why they might put charges up because it’s easy money to get back and places like Ecclesall Road can be clogged up with traffic but I can’t see how it makes a massive difference.”

Brenda Harlington, 67, of Hunters Bar added: “I can see where the council is coming from, there are not enough places to park but putting up the price won’t suddenly discourage people from coming down Ecclesall Road or Hillsborough.”

Posting on social media, Darren Bailey said: “Meadowhall bosses are smiling all the way to the bank and the glaziers are rubbing their hands due to a boom in business boarding up empty shops.

“Just ask the businesses around Hillsborough what car parking has cost them in lost trade with Asda and Sainsburys offering free car parking.”

Phil Vintin added: “Sheffield has very, very competitive parking costs compared to other cities. I’ve no idea why people are obsessed with the cost. It certainly isn’t prohibitive in terms of whether to go to town or not.”

A spokesman from Sheffield Council said: “Being pro-bus and pro-tram doesn’t make you anti-car.

“We are making it easier for people to use their cars, through proposals such as increasing the free parking from 15 to 20 minutes in non-city-centre and the city council is also encouraging people to travel in an eco-friendly and sustainable way, whether that be by bus, tram, bike or on foot.

“Although many people still prefer to travel by car, for a number of reasons we want more people to use public transport in Sheffield.

“It’s fantastic that 13 million journeys are being made each year on the tram, and that a range of affordable ticketing options are available across the public transport system. Increased numbers of people travelling by public transport has a positive effect on the capacity of our roads which is beneficial to drivers.”

Car usage in Sheffield has risen say Government

Governement statistics show the number of people using cars in the city is on the rise.

Latest figures from the Department for Transport show that motor vehicle usage in Sheffield increased from 2,169 million vehicle kilometres in 2013 to 2,224 million in 2015.

Although some public transport fares in Sheffield

have risen – mainly single trip and day tickets – the council addded it has worked in partnership with bus operators via the Sheffield Bus Agreement, which has resulted in ‘significant decreases in multi-operator ticket costs’.

A weekly multi-operator ticket was £22.70 and is now £14.

A report signed off by council bosses has said the net result of motoring costs reducing over time is that ‘car trips become relatively

cheaper’ and drivers are therefore ‘less likely to choose more sustainable modes of

travel’ for at least some of their trips.