Councillors have voted to retain control of a shopping precinct car park, ensuring it can continue to be well used by local people for free.
At a meeting of the council's cabinet on Tuesday, 31 August 2021, members rejected surrendering control of the car park at Cutgate shopping precinct off Edenfield Road in Spotland, Rochdale. Instead, the council will continue to maintain the parking spaces, which are well used by shoppers and people attending nearby community facilities like Cutgate Baptist church and Passmonds bowling green.
Rochdale Borough Council does not own the land. A section of the car park was dedicated to the council in 1976 as an off-street car park to be maintained for public use at public expense.
Councillor Rachel Massey, portfolio holder for children's services and education and a councillor for Spotland and Falinge said: "The potential introduction of charges or time limits would have had too much impact, and was not a risk we were willing to take. The car park is used by residents visiting the shops, the doctors surgery, the church, and for much more, it's a vital resource for our community.
"Edenfield Road is a critical route and anything which limits parking on Cutgate shopping precinct could lead to dangerous parking on Edenfield Rd which would have a knock-on effect on traffic. We received over 1,200 signatures from residents and the businesses who were against us surrendering the deed back to the land owners. We have listened to their concerns, recognising that the car park is a very important community resource. We continue our commitment as a council, to providing the first class public services that our residents expect."
Councillor Neil Emmott, leader of the council, said "As we come out of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, the difficulties faced by the retail and business sectors over the last 18 months are something that I'm very aware of. It's important that as a council that we try to give as much support to them as possible. Supporting free parking at a very well used shopping precinct will help the small businesses and that's something we're very much behind."