Concerns raised over loss of parking permits for midwives and health visitors in Lancaster and Morecambe

Health visitors, midwives and other health and care workers in Lancaster and Morecambe will no longer be given permits that let them park in residents’ parking zones.

Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 4:33 pm

Lancashire County Council has removed carers permits as part of proposed new parking rules expected to be brought into force in the coming months.

Coun Erica Lewis, the new leader of Lancaster City Council who is also a county councillor for Lancaster South East, said the new rules would have a negative effect on the provision of care.

She said: “Lancashire County Council in its attempt to find a one-size fits all solution to parking across Lancashire has removed all mention of carer permits from its parking regulations consultation.

Erica Lewis and Lizzi Collinge.

“Local care providers have previously raised concerns that that the removal of carers permits will have a negative impact on the care they can provide. Short visit times and already bursting schedules mean that a need to either park outside the residents parking zone, or to go into the home to get a permit and come back out again, will mean less time for care.”

Until now, members of caring professions who visit people at home in Morecambe and Lancaster have been able to get permits that let them park in residents parking zones.

However, the county council plans to harmonise parking permits across the county and so have removed carers permits from the proposed new parking rules.

Peter Bell, regulation and enforcement manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “The changes being proposed are intended to bring fairness and consistency to the way residents’ parking schemes operate across Lancashire.

“The schemes currently differ between districts, but now they’re being administered on a countywide basis it makes sense to ensure they operate along the same lines as far as possible.

“In some areas the changes amount to simplifying the way the schemes operate and we hope this will also make them work better for residents.”

County Coun Lizzi Collinge said: “I’m at a loss as to why the County Council didn’t take this opportunity to spread carers permits across Lancashire, as myself and Coun Lewis have lobbied for.

“I know from speaking with health visitors and midwives that this omission from the new parking scheme will affect patient care and staff’s ability to do their job.

“Midwives have to carry heavy baby scales and have a lot of families to see in one day; how will they manage their caseload with extra time faffing with parking?

“One health visitor I spoke to explained that not all families welcome having a health visitor call and that having to ask for a parking permit would make an already difficult visit even harder.”

Lancashire County Council is asking for people’s views on changes being proposed to residents’ parking schemes to make them work fairly and consistently across the county.

The council has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce a standard price of £25 for annual permits, and make changes to the types of permits available in some areas.

The cost of a permit and types of permit available currently vary as the schemes were established by different district councils. The county council took over their administration in 2018 and has reviewed the way they work with the aim of making them operate more fairly, consistently, and efficiently.

The council has written to over 9,000 residents who are eligible for residents parking permits as part of a formal consultation into changing the terms of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), which makes them legally enforceable.

The new scheme being proposed means no change for many current permit holders as a number of the schemes in place already charge £25 per permit. It will mean a price drop for some permit holders in Lancaster, Preston and South Ribble, and only permits in Chorley and Pendle currently cost less.

The new scheme will also offer residents in many schemes the opportunity to buy a second £25 permit for visitors. This will simplify arrangements currently in place in some areas where visitors’ permits can be used a limited number of times before being renewed, and other types of permit are also available for businesses, doctors, and carers.

Under the new scheme being proposed all visitors’ permits would be registered to an address, making them easier to administer and enforce, and potentially improving opportunities for residents to park. Residents with visitor permits can offer them to anyone who needs to park nearby while visiting them.

To support environmental challenges the new scheme also proposes to waive the charge for vehicle specific permits for fully electric vehicles.

Changes have also been made to residents’ parking schemes and on-street parking charges across the district. Proposals can be viewed here and people affected can respond to it by emailing [email protected] by June 14.