Timperley Councillors response to Thorley Lane car park proposals

7 Feb 2024

Timperley Central Ward Councillors response to Thorley Lane car park proposals

As Timperley Councillors we object to these proposals in the strongest possible terms.  The introduction of parking charges at Thorley Lane would be damaging to businesses in Timperley Village at an already precarious time for our local economy.  Residents of Timperley have made their views on these proposals clear, responding to the council in large numbers to object to the introduction of charges.  Timperley's unique loss of parking space over the last 10 years, coupled with its proximity to other, larger retail parks and town centres have also not been considered.  Finally, no provision has been made for short-stay free parking as part of the proposed fee structure, a fact that we find particularly uncompromising and unacceptable. 

We have set out our objections in details as follows:  

1. Current economic factors affecting businesses

The cost-of-living crisis and the aftermath of the pandemic have had a large and continuing impact on Timperley's high street retailers, particularly on smaller, independent businesses.  At this time, it is our strong view that the council should be mindful of the impact that parking charges would undoubtedly have on footfall. 

As Timperley's representatives we have spoken directly with the businesses we represent and the feelings of anxiety and insecurity expressed should be noted and factored into this decision.  There is also a lack of clarity around staff parking and we feel it is wrong to effectively charge people for going to work. 

Financially speaking, taking this decision will achieve little to nothing in terms of supporting Trafford Council's wider budget.  The negative impact that would be felt by our businesses would far outweigh any small financial gains from the council.  It is our view that taking this decision will present a financial cost to the council in the medium term, as it would only take a small drop in business rates receipts from the village, to offset the income generated by paid parking. 

2. Timperley's unique factors

We believe there are several factors for consideration which are unique to Timperley. 

Since the closure and renovation of the old library site on Stockport Road, Timperley has lost approximately 100 parking spaces.  The report highlights the fact that the bays that are made available at the new library are not free as before, but are now charged.  Therefore, these proposals represent an attempt to introduce parking charges in Timperley at a second location in as many years.  Timperley's net loss of overall parking capacity is unique when compared with other localities. 

Timperley is uniquely situated between other, larger town centres and retail parks.  Altrincham, Broadheath and Baguley each have a substantial retail offer and plenty of free parking. 

Following the introduction of parking charges, many people will opt to shop elsewhere and this has the potential to cause great damage to Timperley Village.  

3. Strong local objections

When given the opportunity to respond to the council in relation to these proposals, Timperley residents objected in large numbers.  263 objections were registered by members of the community, a number which is far in excess of the usual level of engagement. 

These proposals enjoy no discernible support whatsoever from the businesses they impact or the community who use them. 

4. No provision for short-stay free parking

The proposed fee structure as detailed in the report makes no concession to short-stay free parking.  Given Timperley's unique factors and given the strength of feeling against these proposals, we would have expected provision to be made for two or three hours free parking in support of the local economy. 

We consider the lack of this concession to be particularly uncompromising and inconsiderate of the views of Timperley residents. 

In conclusion, we strongly recommend that these proposals are rejected and the Thorley Lane car park remains free to use. 

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