THE introduction of new parking charges across Cheshire East in October could be followed by an increase in those fees as early as next January.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) sought clarification about a further hike in prices after the highways and transport committee last month voted in favour of reviewing parking charges annually.

Richard Hibbert, head of strategic transport and parking, said at the time: “Any inflationary increase would happen round about Christmas time.”

The LDRS asked whether this would mean a price hike within months of the new charges being introduced.

For some areas, such as Alsager, Audlem, Holmes Chapel, Middlewich and Sandbach,  the implementation of the new policy in October will be the first time they have had to pay to park.

Knutsford Guardian: Protesters outside last month's highways and transport committee meeting at Macclesfield Town HallProtesters outside last month's highways and transport committee meeting at Macclesfield Town Hall (Image: Belinda Ryan, LDRS)

A council spokesperson said: “Changes to parking tariffs following the committee’s decision on January 25, 2024, are expected to go live across the borough by October.

"Later this year, the council will also be carrying out the first annual review of charges as resolved at committee.


“The effects of this annual review are expected to come into effect in January 2025 following statutory consultation.”

The committee also voted at that meeting to consult further with the public about introducing more changes to the parking policy, including making all meters except one cashless on all council car parks.

That consultation will take place in the summer.

The LDRS asked whether the council would be paying the 7p service charge added to each parking transaction when drivers use the PayByPhone app.

The spokesperson said: “As part of the measures approved by highways and transport committee on January 25, 2024, it was agreed to move towards cashless payments whilst retaining the option to pay by cash in at least one car park in every town.

“This approach reflects the needs of users and gives sufficient flexibility to respond to issues such as the need to collect cash regularly.

“We are still to finalise our implementation plans for this approach.”

He added: “As well as the option to pay by cash, people can also choose to pay by card, for which there is no transaction fee.

“PayByPhone to park does incur a 7p convenience fee in addition to the car park charge.

“The council does not intend to absorb these costs, as alternative means of payment are available.

"However, we will seek to minimise costs to users through effective negotiation of our contracts with suppliers, including any transition to the emerging National Parking Platform.”