Manchester City Council to take control of city centre car parks

Manchester City Council is set to take direct control of 13 off-street city centre car parks, after a long-standing joint venture agreement with NCP comes to an end.

The announcement means that, from 1 January 2021, the car parks will be operated by the council as ‘pay on arrival’ sites, where customers pay in advance, either through the PaybyPhone App or by card at a payment machine.

The change will give the council added flexibility to improve the parking service offered to customers in the future, with Manchester City Council highlighting the potential to improve the provision of cycle and motorbike storage, or installing new electric vehicle charging points. It will also enable decisions on future parking provision and policy for the city centre to be closely aligned with the city’s bold environmental and transport strategies, while factoring in how emerging parking technologies can be used to customers’ advantage.

The Joint Venture agreement with NCP, which has been in place for more than 20 years, expires in December 2020, having been extended for an extra 18 months beyond its original lifespan. In total, 25 off-street sites are covered by agreement, 12 of which will continue to be operated by NCP.

Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “This is a big opportunity for us to look afresh at our city centre car parks and gives us the flexibility we need to ensure that they serve the public better in the future. Whether it’s through installing new electric vehicle charging points, providing more cycle storage, or moving with the times to use the latest technology, this is our opportunity to see things differently at the end of a long-standing partnership.  We would like to thank NCP for all of their work with us over the past two decades to provide parking services in Manchester city centre.

“Taking direct control of these facilities will enable us to provide a high quality parking service for customers, which is cost-effective for the city. We will be working to ensure that the transition to the new system is as seamless as possible for all customers. Manchester is changing and has set an ambitious target of becoming zero-carbon by 2038 at the latest. We will be working to ensure that sufficient parking space is available to meet the needs of those who live, work or visit the city, while also taking full account of the bold proposals set out in the new City Centre Transport Strategy and the city’s zero-carbon goal.”

A new draft Manchester City Centre Transport Strategy - which is currently open for public consultation - foresees an overall planned, gradual reduction in off-street car parking in the city centre over the coming decades, through the redevelopment of current parking sites. It is estimated that over time, 12,500 spaces could be removed from the parking supply, freeing up space for other uses.