Parking fee faces legal threat as Wirral Labor group withdraws support

The WIRRAL workers’ group no longer supports plans to impose parking fees in new locations in the borough.

It was raised during Monday’s full council meeting that the recommendations made by enforcement officers to implement the charges were threatened with legal challenge, as confirmed by the attorney for the borough.

It is understood that the threat of a legal challenge relates to one aspect of the planned implementation of parking charges. However, the Labor group is calling for a review of the proposed charges across the board.

This relates to proposed rates for on-street parking in coastal areas and several council-owned car parks, which are currently free.

While senior Labor officials said they could not say whether or not the authority was threatened with a legal challenge to officers’ recommendations to introduce parking charges, they said it was essential to get the right legal decision.

Wirral Council leader Cllr Janette Williamson said: ‘Labour is committed to making sure the right decisions are made, based on the right advice. And I am determined that these decisions are the right ones for all of Wirral.

The proposals were due to be voted on by the council’s environment and climate change committee next week, although that may no longer be the case.

Cllr Paul Stuart, the deputy leader of the Labor group, added: ‘We are in the midst of a Tory-led cost of living crisis, with the government slashing council budgets across the country. It seems unwise to risk even the slightest threat of costly legal challenges.

“We have asked agents to find the £500,000 shortfall elsewhere and are not prepared at this time to support the introduction of charges which may cost more than they bring in.”

Another proposal, which provided for the equalization of parking rates in municipal parking lots in the borough, has now been implemented. Previously Birkenhead car parks charged more per hour than other areas of Wirral. Equalization has seen fees reduced at the more expensive sites, with leveling off in other areas.

The council will also continue to encourage active travel, investing in cycling, walking and public transport.

Maria R. Newman