Smart new parking system on the cards

By Sarah Beard 02/03 Updated: 02/03 16:24

Buy photos » The new smart cards could be available to everyone in Bromsgrove under the new plans.

ALL DRIVERS in Bromsgrove could soon be given the chance to use a new smart card system in town car parks as part of changes being mooted by the district council.

The scheme, which would see motorists get a free hour’s stay, will be discussed by a cross-party task group that has been specially set up to debate a variety of parking issues.

Other items which will be on the agenda, include parking charges and the controversial fees currently levied at disabled blue badge holders.

If the smart card system was approved, shoppers who registered for the scheme, would be given their first hour free and would only be billed for the time they parked after that, with the minimum charge being half-an-hour.

Some blue badge holders, who have registered, already use the smart card system and it is hoped, if it was brought in, it would prove popular with the public. Registration for the smart-card would incur a small fee.

The plans for the task group were agreed at Bromsgrove District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday (February 27).

Also at that meeting, the Bromsgrove Forum for Older People put forward a proposal for more affordable parking.

Charles Bateman, from the forum, welcomed the decision to set up the task group and said: “It’s great all the issues surrounding car parking are going to be looked at.”

The cross-party task group will now gather information from the public on the parking issues they have and create a report which will be presented to cabinet.

Bromsgrove District Council leader, Coun Roger Hollingworth, confirmed this would happen no later than September and said it could be as early as July.

But, he added, he did not want to comment further on the proposals until the report had been completed.

Coun Luke Mallet said parking costs in Bromsgrove had risen rapidly over the past few years at a time when business and custom needed injecting into the town.

“Our high charging car parks are pushing people away.

“Discounting regular users of the car parks could help our town to thrive.

“The Labour Group believes free Sunday or even whole weekend parking concessions could also be part of the solution to encouraging shoppers and businesses back to the town, creating local job opportunities.

“This proposal should be seriously considered by the council in parallel with revisiting the decision to charge blue badge holders to park in Bromsgrove - something that is free everywhere else in Worcestershire.”

Anyone wanting to voice their opinions on car parking should contact Coun Mike Webb, either by calling him on 01527 882392 or e-mailing him at m.webb@bromsgrove.gov.uk

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