PLANS to introduce on-street parking charges in Cockerton have been abandoned by Darlington Borough Council after an outcry from local residents and businesses.

The council had suggested the introduction of parking charges in the village to tackle congestion and inconsiderate parking as part of a wider consultation into a new parking strategy for Darlington.

The strategy consultation also invited opinions on ways to improve the parking offer in the town centre and the system of residents’ parking zones.

Loading article content

Dozens of comments on the proposals for on-street parking charges for Cockerton were submitted, with an ‘overwhelming response’ that there is no parking problem in the village and no need for pay and display parking.

When the proposals were first announced in September last year business owners in Cockerton said they feared pay and display parking in the streets could lead to a drop in customers and kill off trade in the village.

In a report prepared for the authority’s place scrutiny committee officers said: “The overwhelming response from both residents and businesses in Cockerton is that there is no parking problem and that there is no need to undertake a feasibility study, nor any need to introduce residents parking zones (RPZ), pay and display or time limited parking.

“Most residents are tolerant of the parking associated with dropping off and picking up of children at the two schools and of the parking associated with daily events and activities at the nearby churches.

“Reflecting on comments from Cockerton residents and businesses it is proposed that the action ‘Investigate feasibility of on street pay and display parking in Cockerton centre’ is taken out of the Parking Strategy.”

A large number of comments were sent to the council about town centre parking and residents’ parking zones.

On town centre parking, many respondents asked for three hours of free parking, while others asked for free parking with the chance to pay for extra hours. Pay on exit parking was also a popular idea, as was a return to free parking on a Sunday.

Members will discuss the consultation responses in full at a meeting on Thursday (February 6).