A new standardised scheme for parking permits has been given the green light by Lancashire County Council, which will bring to an end the availability of permits specifically for care workers in Lancaster.
The city council area was the only part of Lancashire which still operated such a system. Carers will have to use a household's visitor permit when the new arrangements come into force.
At the county council cabinet meeting where the new scheme was approved, member for highways, Keith Iddon, said that the carer permits were “open to great abuse”. But he added that no carer would have to pay a fine if they were responding to an emergency.
“If a carer has to rush in and doesn’t have time to come back to their car with the visitor permit, any booking [which they receive] will be quashed if it is reported to us – there is no question about that,” County Coun Iddon said.
“But residents need to be able to park and, especially in Lancaster, there is nowhere – because it’s so congested.”
However, Lancaster City Council leader Erica Lewis, who also represents Lancaster South East on the county council, tweeted her “disappointment” at the decision.
“Lancashire County Council [has pushed] ahead with its plan to remove carers permits from Lancaster – and for no reason other than conformity. This is a decision that will shorten care visits and put even more pressure on NHS and care staff,” County Coun Lewis said.
Residents will pay an annual £25 fee in areas where parking is permit-controlled, a reduction on the current rate for six out of the 15 parking zones in Lancaster - only one will see an increase in cost and the remainder are already set at the £25 level. Owners of electric vehicles will escape any change for permits.
Visitor permits will also cost £25, replacing the current card system whereby 30 visits could be covered for just £3. However, the meeting heard that the county council will continue to accept the use of the cards until they run out.
The mix of permits in zones A and B will also shift from two residents' permits and one visitor to one resident and two visitors.
On-street pay and display charges in the city are also set to increase by 10 pence.