Parking permits could be introduced for businesses and tourist attractions across Warwickshire after councillors voted through changes to the county’s on-street parking arrangements.
A controversial plan to scrap the current paper permits used by residents in favour of new digital ones was also supported but calls to limit the number of permits to two per household were not adopted.
The proposals will now go to Warwickshire County Council’s cabinet meeting in March where they are likely to be rubber-stamped with the changes introduced the following month.
Six members of the public spoke at this week’s January 9 special communities overview and scrutiny meeting at Shire Hall, all of them concerned by the impact the planned changes would have on their homes or businesses. A number of councillors also spoke out about the plans.
Stratford resident Marsh Whieldon spoke on behalf of those living in part of the town centre where street parking is vital to those living in the terraced housing, explaining that a digital system would prove unworkable for the elderly.
Richard Lees, owner of a Stratford guest house, said a digital system for visitor passes would be an issue for those staying at independent B&Bs while Rugby residents Ellen Boylin and Jed Master explained that there were already problems in their town due to the high numbers of HMOs and not enough parking spaces.
Cllr Jonathan Chilvers (Green Leamington Brunswick) added: “In all this paperwork there has been no attempt to actually work out how over-subscribed we are. It’s one of the things I’d like a task and finish group to look at so that it can inform us how we can handle a scarce resource well.
“A fairer way might be to limit each household to two passes and we really need to look at that. We need to make it as fair as possible for everybody.”
Cllr Kate Rolfe (Lib Dem Stratford South) said that many elderly people were scared and frightened by the possible introduction of a digital system which they would struggle to use if they had no access to the technology.
And Cllr Nicola Davies (Lib Dem Leamington Clarendon) added: “The biggest concern is around fairness and particularly around visitor parking and moving to a digital system. I do have concerns that there is a discriminatory element if this scheme is 100 per cent digital. For some people it will work really well but it won’t for everyone.”
Cllr Jeff Clarke (Con Nuneaton East), the portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “It’s not going to be 100 per cent digital - there will be safeguards and opportunities for those who don’t have access to digital to still obtain permits.”
It was agreed that a task and finish group be set up but to look at just parking permits to help businesses and tourism.