A VOTE on parking charges across Wirral has been delayed once again.

In 2021, Wirral Council agreed to bring in charges for car parks and on-street parking in areas where it is currently free – including parts of New Brighton, West Kirby, Leasowe, Bromborough and many other parts of the borough. A vote on the plans to confirm the locations was deferred in February and members of the council’s environment, climate emergency and transport committee have put it back by another month to clarify its legal position.

Chair Cllr Elizabeth Grey said correspondence had been received late last week from a local business in relation to the legality of the proposals and owing to the lateness of the letter, members had not received the required legal advice ahead of this evening’s proposed decision making gathering. As part of the plans, which could raise £1m a year,  £1 per hour standard rate, with a £5 per day maximum charge, was agreed to for all areas in Wirral which already charge earlier this year.

Labour and Green Party councillors had been in favour of the fees, arguing new charges were needed to ensure the authority was not subsidising car parking at a time when it faced huge pressures on its budget. Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors indicated they would not support the plans, arguing they would damage local businesses emerging from the pandemic.

The vote was already delayed once after around 4,000 objections and comments were received in the consultation that ran in December last year. In February, Wirral Council said it would have been after this evening’s committee that it would be in a position to advise of changes and when the charges would come into force.

Cllr Grey said: “It is vital that we listen, it is essential that we are categorically clear on our legal position. It is important that the public know what we intend to do and why.”

The council will now assess the submission, clarify its position and return relevant reports to committee ahead of its next meeting on July 21. Respondents to the council’s consultation indicated that they were not in favour of additional fees to park their cars with themes such as the impact on businesses, health and wellbeing, displaced parking and the cost of living crisis being identified.

Among the matters in support of the charges were how it could support the climate crisis and reduced congestion. Members of the committee are expected now to sign off on charges being implemented next month at the following locations: Kings Parade / Coastal Drive, New Brighton; South Parade, West Kirby; Bayview Drive / Harrison Drive; Derby Pool Car Park, New Brighton; The Gunsite Car Park, Leasowe. Other Off-Street Car Parks include Old Chester Road (Chamberlain Street), Birkenhead; Chamberlain Street, Birkenhead; Banks Road, Heswall; Carr Lane, Hoylake; Barlow Avenue, Bebington; Church Road, Bebington; Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton, and Thurstaston Common, Thurstaston.