Changes to car parking arrangements at Heaton Park are being made, in order to improve the management of traffic within one of Manchester’s greatest green gems.
Following a review and consultation with local residents, pay and display parking is to be introduced and will apply seven days a week, between the hours of 10am and 5pm – with all parking charges retained by the park for reinvestment in improving facilities and services.
At present, parking charges apply from 10am – 5pm on weekends, bank holidays and during school holidays.
The new system – which offers payment by mobile phone, cash or card – will replace the old method of charges being collected manually by staff at entrance gates, which could cause lengthy queues at peak periods.
Through the new parking system and associated enforcement, the council aims to protect the park’s environment by preventing motorists from parking outside of designated car parks – which will also help to ensure consistent access to all parts of the park for pedestrians and emergency services.
The change, which will be introduced on Monday 21 May 2018, follows extensive consultation with local residents, park users, businesses based within the park and other stakeholders including Bury Council, who have introduced parking restrictions in some of the residential streets surrounding the park.
It is being accompanied by a programme of work to prepare the park’s car parks, including the creation of dedicated free disabled parking spaces for the first time. Work to improve parking facilities has included full resurfacing of the Lakeside car park, which was completed in April. Blue badge bays will be available in all car parks throughout the park.
There will be charges of £1 for up to one hour, £2 for one to three hours and a maximum charge of £3 for the whole day. Methods of payment will include cash, credit or debit card and the PayByPhone app, which can be used to pay or top up at any time after arrival in the park.
A limited number of annual parking e-permits will be available for regular visitors. These will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and interested individuals or groups should apply online via www.manchester.gov.uk/heatonpark
The park is open from 8am daily, meaning that there will be a two-hour window for free parking in the mornings – plus free parking from 5pm until the park closes for the evening, with some exceptions for special events.
Heaton Park is well served by the region’s public transport network, with regular bus services and Metrolink trams calling at the park.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “We’re making this change after a thorough review, which included consultation with local residents and community groups.
“Introducing a pay and display scheme will allow us to properly control the way traffic moves around the park, ensuring safe routes for pedestrians, preserving historic and environmentally sensitive areas and maintaining vital access for emergency services.
“The change is about improving the park’s environment for all visitors and is not about raising money, although it’s important to stress that all parking revenue will continue to be reinvested into the park, to help maintain and enhance its facilities.
“Free parking will be available before 10am and after 5pm and we will continue to promote the park’s excellent public transport links to visitors.”